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The object of this little work is twofold. It is 
intended, first, to explain the causes of the Mutiny 
which threatened to deprive us of our possession of 
India in 1857 ; and, secondly, to show how the 
present aggressive conduct of Russia is more than 
likely to occasion the most serious fears in regard 
to the future of India. 

The book consists of three chapters. In the first 
I have tried to prove that Sir John Kaye, the only 
writer who has attempted a full historical account 
of the " Sepoy War," is mistaken in his views as 
to the causes which produced it; in the second I 
have endeavoured to give a more intelligible and 
accurate statement of the circumstances which led 
to the outbreak in Bengal, as well as a narrative 
of the measures which were adopted to check the 
extension of mischief from the open manifestation 
of Sepoy disaffection in Bombay ; and in the con- 
cluding chapter I have stated the causes of danger 


to India arising from the Eusso -Turkish war, and 
the means by which that danger might yet be 

In the preventive and precautionary measures 
taken in Bombay during the Mutiny, my share was 
a very prominent one, and I have found it impossible 
to exclude all mention of myself in the relation of 
those incidents, and I solicit, in consequence, the 
indulgence of the reader for the obtrusive but 
unavoidable display of egotism. 

I have deemed it a duty to dedicate this little 
volume to the memory of the late Lord Elphin- 
stone, in admiration of his efforts in the cause of 
order during the period of the Mutiny, and from 
feelings of official gratitude. But for Lord Elphin- 
stone, I should, in all probability, both at Belgaum 
and in Bombay, have been superseded for having 
presumed, under critical circumstances, to act in 
contravention of the orders of Government. 

C. F. 

9th September, 1877. 



Twenty years have elapsed since the outbreak of the 
memorable Indian Mutiny. The more important re- 
sults which have followed the transfer of the govern- 
ment to the Crown, and which mark the successive 
periods of the new r Viceregal administration, have, 
in point of interest and public concern, begun to be 
regarded as portions of the political history of Great 
Britain. The siege of Delhi, the relief of Lucknow, 
the massacre of Caw r npoor are as familiar subjects of 
table talk as any of the remarkable events in our past 
national history. The story of that fearful mutiny 
has already been told, but it has been told only as 
a story full of danger and daring, of horror and 
heroism. Some of the more striking events have been 
related with the view of exciting sympathy or repul- 
sion, according to the taste and bent of the narrator ; 
but we have not as yet had anything like a reasonable 
and satisfactory explanation of the causes which led 
to the outbreak. The event itself is now recorded, 
with its details and dates, in all text -books of modern 


history, but no attempt has been made to unravel 
the skein of antecedent circumstances, so as to dis- 
cover a clue which shall be sufficient to account for 
the occurrence. 

I had long wished to undertake the task of stating 
those circumstances ; but a writer of such literaiy 
reputation as the late Sir John Kaye, had elaborately 
represented his own views on the subject, and sup- 
ported them on evidence so specious, and in language 
so emphatic, that the world at large, I doubted not, 
had arrived at the conclusion that the reasons set forth 
by the author of "The Sepoy War" were those which 
led to that terrible military outbreak. To one, more- 
over, who had spent much of his time in the saddle, 
and very little at the desk, the thought of engaging 
in such a conflict was by no means encouraging. It 
was therefore abandoned ; but the recent visit of his 
Eoyal Highness the Prince of Wales to India has led 
to misconceived views as to our military organisation 
in the East. The statement too of politicians who 
believe the existence of Turkey in Europe to be an 
anachronism, and the utterances of the Secretary of 
State for India at the banquet of Merchant Tailors, 
on the evening of the 11th of June last, of seeing no 
reason to share in the apprehensions of those around 
him as to danger to India from the Eastern question, 
have led to the desire to overcome all feelings of 
reluctance, and, however feeble the effort, to engage 
in indicating the causes which, in my humble opinion, 


led to the Indian Mutiny, and to show, also, that if 
Turkey in Europe is displaced by Eussia, or if Russia 
is allowed to pursue her course of aggression in 
Central Asia, or in Asia Minor, how inevitably 
disastrous either result would be as regards our hold 
on India. 

Before giving my own account of the causes of 
the Indian Mutiny, I shall briefly examine Sir John 
Kaye's explanations. My object is not to write a 
book, but merely to give prominence to facts that are 
in themselves incontrovertible. 

The reasons assigned by Sir John Kaye may be 
generalised into — (1) The baneful consequences of 
annexation ; (2) The unrighteous enforcement of the 
" right of lapse,'' by withholding from the adopted 
heir, succession to the titular dignities and territorial 
sovereignty of the deceased; (3) The resumption of 
the holdings of the talookdar, or revenue contractor ; 

(4) The confiscation of eenam, or rent-free tenure ; 

(5) The measures of private individuals for the 
propagation of Christianity, and the identifica- 
tion of Government with educational and social 

The readers of " The Sepoy War " will have re- 
marked, however, that the terms of condemnation in 
which these measures are commented on, are far from 
unqualified. The baneful consequences of annexation 
are generally described in language which leaves one 
in doubt as to whether the writer was in earnest in 
B 2 


exhibiting annexation as one of the causes which 
brought about the Indian Mutiny. 

Of the several instances of annexation to which 
the Indian Government deemed it necessary to give 
effect, that of the kingdom of Oude may be cited as 
the most prominent in point of territorial and ethno- 
logical importance. 

With reference to this annexation, Sir John Kaye 
states (vol. i., page 112): "There was still another 
province to be absorbed into the British Empire 
under the administration of Lord Dalhousie — not by 
conquest, for its rulers had ever been our friends, 
and its people had recruited our armies ; not by lapse, 
for there had always been a son, or a brother, or some 
member of the royal house, to fulfil, according to the 
Mahomedan law of succession, the conditions of heir- 
ship, and there was still a king, the son of a king, 
upon the throne ; but by a simple assertion of the 
dominant will of the British Government. This was 
the province of Oude, in the very heart of Hindoo- 
stan, which had long tempted us, alike by its local 
situation and the reputed wealth of its natural 

The last lines contain an accusation against the 
Indian Administration, as grave as it is thoughtless 
and unreasonable. This great province, in the very 
heart of Hindoostan, it is stated, " had long tempted 
us" An act of moral and political courage, in bring- 
ing it under our rule, is thus represented as one of 


spoliation, and elsewhere as having been accompanied 
with violence and pillage. Happily, it is not neces- 
sary for me to vindicate the grounds on which this 
annexation had become a duty as necessary as it 
was imperative. Sir John Kaye has himself set 
forth this vindication with much emphasis and justice. 
In vol. i., page 114, he states : "Never were the coils 
of misrule more horribly apparent ; never were the 
vices of an indolent and rapacious Government pro- 
ductive of a greater sum of misery. The extrava- 
gance and profligacy of the Court were written in 
hideous characters on the desolated face of the 
country. It was left to the Nabob's Government 
to dispense justice : justice was not dispensed. It 
was left to the Nabob's Government to collect the 
revenue : it was wrung from the people at the point 
of the bayonet. The Court was sumptuous and pro- 
fligate : the people poor and wretched. The expenses 
of the royal household were enormous. Hundreds 
of richly-caparisoned voracious elephants ate up the 
wealth of whole districts, or carried it in glittering 
apparel on their backs. A multitudinous throng of 
unserviceable attendants, bands of dancing-girls, flocks 
of parasites, costly feasts and ceremonies, folly; and 
pomp, and profligacy of every conceivable description 
drained the coffers of the State. A vicious and ex- 
travagant Government soon beget a poor and a suffer- 
ing people ; a poor and a suffering people, in turn, 
perpetuate the curse of a bankrupt Government. The 


process of retaliation is sure. To support the lavish 
expenditure of the Court, the mass of the people were 
persecuted and outraged. Bands of armed merce- 
naries were let loose upon the ryots, in support of 
the rapacity of the aumils, or revenue-farmers, whose 
appearance was a terror to the people. Under such 
a system of cruelty and extortion, the country soon 
became a desert, and the Government then learnt, 
by hard experience, that the prosperity of the people 
is the only true source of wealth. The lesson was 
thrown away. The decrease of the revenue was not 
accompanied by a corresponding diminution of the 
profligate expenditure of the Court, or by any effort 
to introduce a better administrative system. Instead 
of this, every new year saw the unhappy country 
lapsing into worse disorder, with less disposition, as 
time advanced, on the part of the local Government, 
to remedy the evils beneath which it was groaning. 
Advice, protestation, remonstrance were in vain. Lord 
Cornwallis advised, protested, remonstrated ; Sir John 
Shore advised, protested, remonstrated ; but all proved 
unavailing " ! 

This was up to the year 1798. Further trials 
were made, with the object of awakening the Nabob 
and his officials to a sense of their responsibility ; but 
they allowed things to take their course. " Sunk in 
voluptuousness (vol. i., page 120) and pollution, often 
too horribly revolting to be described, they gave 
themselves up to the guidance of panders and para- 


sites, and cared not so long as these wretched 
creatures administered to their sensual appetites. 
Affairs of state were pushed aside as painful intru- 
sions. Corruption stalked openly abroad. Every 
one had his price. Place, honour, justice — every- 
thing — was to be bought. Fiddlers and barbers, 
pimps and mountebanks became great functionaries." 

This was up to the year 1817. The period of pro- 
bation was still further prolonged. Advice, remon- 
strance, and protest again and again proved unavailing. 
Then warning succeeded warning, each more earnest 
than the one that preceded it, but with the same 
abortive result. And while the Court was indulging 
in high carnivals of profligacy, " the talookdars (vol. i., 
page 135) kept the country in a perpetual state of 
disturbance, and rendered life, property, and industry 
everywhere insecure. Whenever they quarrelled with 
each other, or with the local authorities of the 
Government, from whatever cause, they took to 
indiscriminate plunder and murder, over all lands 
not held by men of the same class. No road, town, 
village, or hamlet was secure from their merciless 
attacks. Eobbery and murder became their diversion, 
their sport ; and they thought no more of taking the 
lives of men, women, and children than those of deer 
and wild hogs." 

The career of anarchy and wild misrule had long 
been such as to have sufficed to exhaust a heaven-born 
forbearance. But it was not till the year 1856, after 


a painful experience extending over considerably more 
than half a century, during which three generations 
of kings had succeeded each other, that the annexation 
was proclaimed ! 

Provided with materials of information in abun- 
dance, the author ol " The Sepoy War " could not 
but have been aware that no interference in the affairs 
of territorial and titular princes was ever sought after, 
but forced on the Indian administration by misrule, 
which it was not possible otherwise to prevent. This 
being so, his observations in respect to the subsidiary 
force provided to the King of Oude, for the internal 
as well as external defence of his dominions, are 
singularly uncalled for. He states (vol. i., p. 113) 
that although the Nabob possessed in abundance the 
raw material of soldiers, he had not been able to 
organise an army sufficient for the requirements of 
the State, and so was fain to avail himself of the 
superior military skill and discipline of the white 
men, and to hire British battalions to do his work. 
At first, he says, this was done in an irregular, desul- 
tory kind of way ; but afterwards it assumed a more 
formal and recognised shape, and solemn engagements 
were entered into with the Nawab by which we 
undertook, in consideration of certain money payments, 
to provide a certain number of British troops for the 
defence of his dominions, which, the author adds, was, 
in truth, a vicious system, one that could not be too 
severely condemned ; that by it we established a 


double government of the worst kind; that the 
political and military government was in our hands, 
while the internal administration of the country still 
rested with the Nawab ; that, in other words, hedged 
in and protected by the British battalions, a bad race 
of Eastern princes were suffered to do, or not to do, 
what they pleased, and that under such influence it 
was not strange that disorder of every kind ran riot 
over the whole length and breadth of the land. 

How was such interference to be avoided ? The 
reports of Colonel Sleeman and other political func- 
tionaries, quoted in more than a single instance by 
Sir John Kaye, contain evidence by no means limited 
in scope, of the licentiousness practised by sovereign 
and inferior princes, by their minions, by talookdars 
and their adherents, and, in fact, by every one who 
had it in his power to play the despot. This was so, 
notwithstanding the presence of the British battalions 
and the influence of British officers ; what then would 
have been the state had such preventive influence been 
wanting ? It is by no means difficult to conceive 
that law and morality and every sacred tie, violated 
as they have been under these checks, would have 
been immeasurably more so violated had they been 

The next question is the unrighteous enforcement 
of lapse. The Shaster, or holy writ of the Hindoos, 
enjoins that the funeral pile of the deceased shall be 
lighted by his son, whether begotten or adopted ; or 


in the absence of such son, by the nearest of kin, or 
that the family or other priest, " blurt," shall perform 
that rite in order to ensnre the deliverance of the 
departed from "the hell called Put." The author of 
" The Sepoy War," in maintaining that lapse " pur- 
sued the victim beyond the grave," and that its 
significance to the deceased was " nothing short of 
eternal condemnation," has attached to it an unreal 
and exaggerated importance. 

The lapses (enumerated in book i., chapter xi., of 
vol. i.) all took place within a few years of each other, 
since 1848, and may be said to have been coeval with 
the annexation of the Oude territory. 

It is necessary to bear in mind that the princi- 
palities which so lapsed, and had been incorporated 
with British territory, had all been created by the 
British Government after conquests which, in each 
instance, had been so signal and complete as to 
supersede the necessity for pursuing a conciliatory 
course towards any of the princes in relation with the 
paramount powers, whose systematic perfidy towards 
the British, notwithstanding engagements the most 
solemn and binding, had brought about their over- 
throw. These, as well as a large number of other 
principalities, were created, as is well known, in pur- 
suance of a deeply-cherished policy, devised by the 
wisest and most philanthropic of our Indian states- 
men, with the view that India might be, as largely as 
possible, studded with indigenous centres, where those 


to whom our own administrative institutions afforded 
no opening, might find occupation and employment. 
Great hopes were at the same time entertained that 
the princes so established, would be influenced by our 
example, imitate our principles of government, and 
encourage the social, intellectual, and moral improve- 
ment of their respective subjects ; and thus, it was 
believed, British connection with the East would be 
made a blessing to the millions of its population. But 
bitter disappointment was the result. These princes 
abandoned themselves, as a rule, to sensual indul- 
gences. The profligacy of the different Courts kept 
pace with the baseness and profligacy of intriguing 
courtesans and unscrupulous panders. Favouritism 
swayed every department of the provinces, and incom- 
petency, mismanagement, and cruel oppression were 
the results. 

The Sattara and Nagpore principalities had been 
revived by the British Government in the persons of 
the older surviving representatives of the family which 
last occupied the throne. The former was a prisoner 
in the hands of Bajee Boa, the Peshwa, and on his 
defeat and the conquest of the Deccan, was liberated 
and placed on the throne of Sattara. With reference to 
the cases of both Sattara and Nagpore, Sir John Kaye 
states that " the princes had forfeited their rights, the 
one by hidden treachery and rebellion, the other by 
open hostility. The one, after full inquiry, had been 
deposed ; the other, many years before, had been 


driven into the jungle, and had perished in obscurity, 
a fugitive and an outcast. In both cases, therefore, 
the crime had been committed which the natives of 
India are so willing to recognise as a legitimate reason 
for the punishment of the weaker State by the 
stronger." But the offence, it is said, had been con- 
doned, and the sovereignty had been suffered to 
survive — other members of the reigning family 
being set up by the paramount State in place of the 
offending princes. This is perfectly true ; but what 
was the object of the condonation and the re-establish- 
ment of these thrones ? To evince to the people of 
India at large that the British Government was in- 
fluenced by no selfish views, but that their good was 
its object. It was also done with the hope that the 
princes so favoured would carefully study the welfare 
and the good government of their subjects. The 
result, however, was the same bitter disappointment ; 
and the howl of the oppressed from these as well as 
other principalities still continued to sound forth 
clarion- toned, so that the British Grovernment was 
driven to the necessity of taking advantage of lapses 
on the failure of direct heirs. 

With reference to the third question, the resump- 
tion of the holding of the talookdars, or revenue con- 
tractors, the reports of Colonel Sleeman and other 
officers, quoted by Sir John Kaye, prove, as clearly 
as anything can be proved, that it was not possible 
to surpass their acts of oppression and violence, nor 


to equal their worse than brutal disregard of human 
life. To have maintained them in the several pro- 
vinces over which the right of conquest gave us the 
supremacy, would have been to perpetuate and en- 
courage the most unbridled licentiousness. Like the 
talookdars of northern India, there were talookdars, 
or deshmooks, all over southern India at the time of 
the conquest of the Deccan. Happily, Mountstewart 
Elphinstone, who, previous to the conquest, was 
Resident at the Court of the Peshwa, had made every 
branch of the Peshwa's administration his study, and 
was well acquainted with the shortcomings of the 
deshmooks ; and under his auspices, Mr. Chaplin, 
who was appointed Commissioner for the settlement 
of the conquered provinces, superseded them, and sub- 
stituted the village communities in their dearly- 
cherished tenant-right, and entrusted the collection 
of the revenue to stipendiary native officers, super- 
vised by European assistant-commissioners, one of 
whom, I believe, was Mr. John Warden, who at a 
later period stoutly resisted the operations of the 
Eenam Commission. For some years the revenue 
was collected yearly, on a valuation of the crops ; 
but this practice was not found to work satisfactorily, 
and led to the introduction of the revenue survey and 
assessment, and, in connection with them, to a thirty 
years' permanent settlement, which not only placed 
the cess payable to the Government on a satisfactory 
footing, but it opened the way for the agricultural 


classes to free themselves from their normal condition 
of deep indebtedness to the village banyan, or money- 
lender, to whom, nnder the deshmook or talookdaree 
system, they were so tied down by mortgages that 
they could not call their agricultural implements, nor 
their tillage cattle, nor their houses their own. Surely 
no specious reasoning is necessary to show that the 
new method of collecting the revenue was immeasur- 
ably preferable to the one which it had supplanted. 

With reference to the fourth question, namely, the 
confiscation of rent-free tenures, it is necessary, in the 
first place, to notice that these rent-free or eenam vil- 
lages were not the oases in a u barren, sandy desert," 
but that in consequence of the rack-rent practices of 
the holders of such villages, and the oppressive exac- 
tions with which they were followed, they were the 
plague-spots amid the broad Government lands occu- 
pied by a tenantry who were contented under the 
operations of the revenue survey and assessment, and 
made happy in the freedom they enjoyed from the 
uncertainties of taxation. 

The tenants of these rent-free villages, finding 
their friends and neighbours so favourably circum- 
stanced and themselves racked by a heavy cess, were 
naturally led to complain to British officers, who, 
owing to the exemption from control which the 
holders of those tenures enjoyed, were able to afford 
them no redress. Those who have indulged in a free 
and flippant condemnation of the Eenam Commission, 


however, will probably be surprised to learn that the 
idea of constituting that Board suggested itself to the 
Government from the complaints which poured in to 
them from the sufferers, who not only brought to 
notice the manner in which they were treated, but, at 
the same time, they exposed the fraudulent means by 
which the eenamdars possessed themselves of the vil- 
lages they held — means that had not the sanction of 
the State. No lengthened inquiry was needed to 
show that this was so. The fact was notorious. 
The Peshwas of the later times, though personally 
licentious, were by no means given to the indis- 
criminate alienation of land; and, happily, their 
prime ministers were men of probity. 

The Court of Bajee Boa, however, was proverbially 
profligate. The influence exercised over him by ad- 
herents and feudatories, especially by the Scindia, 
was baneful; so much so, that another high feuda- 
tory, Jeswunt Boa Holkar, marched with an army 
to the capital with the object of relieving his liege 
lord from their thraldom. A battle was fought, in 
which Holkar was victorious ; but it was followed 
by no court reformation. Tradition, however, has 
handed down the names of a triumvirate — the prime 
minister, the general of his forces, and the keeper of 
the public records — as the uncontaminated three. Of 
these, the prime minister and the record keeper made 
entries in the duftar, or public records, of none but 
bond fide grants. The first step, therefore, taken by 


the Eenam Commission, was to establish the rule 
that the period of sixty years should form the pre- 
scriptive proprietary limit, and that the right of 
eenamdars who held possession in excess of sixty 
years should remain unquestioned. With reference 
to cases within the limit, search was made among 
the Poona records for entries, and in respect to those 
found recorded, the inquiry was at once arrested. 
When there appeared to be no record, the eenamdar 
was allowed every opportunity to make good his 
claim, and had conceded to him the weakest proba- 
bility of right in his favour ; and resumption followed 
only when there was no doubt that the possession 
was unauthorised and illegal. The acts of the Eenam 
Commission, however, were questioned chiefly by Mr. 
John Warden, at the time a member of Council of 
the Bombay Government ; but notwithstanding his 
highly influential position, the Commission was able 
to hold its own, for their dealings with eenam s were 
based upon grounds at once sound and consistent. 
And it was only when the Indian Mutiny had excited 
the feelings of England to the condition of fever-heat, 
that instructions were sent out, I believe, to do away 
with the Commission, which, however, in the mean- 
time, had put an end to a very great deal of the 
oppression practised by eenamdars. 

The author of " The Sepoy War," basing his 
views on the opinions said to have been entertained 
by Lord Hardinge, Sir Thomas Munro, Sir John 


Malcolm, the Honourable Mountstewart Elpliinstone, 
and Lord Metcalfe, has declared, in terms bordering 
on deep lamentation, that, in extinguishing loyal 
native states by annexation, or by taking advantage 
of lapses, and in doing away with talookdars, and 
in resuming eenam or rent-free tenures, we under- 
mined the confidence of the people, weakened their 
allegiance, excited widespread dissatisfaction, and so 
paved the way for the outbreak which shook British 
power in India to its very foundation. But were 
these the causes that brought about the Mutiny ? 
Suppositions have been largely indulged in ; but of 
evidence that may be viewed as being at all reliable, 
there is none. 

In regard to the annexation of Oude, Sir John 
Kaye states that " it was not to be doubted " that the 
measure itself made a very bad impression on the 
minds of the people of India ; not because of the 
deposition of a king who had abused his powers ; 
not because of a new system of administration for 
the benefit of the people ; but because the humanity 
of the act was soiled by the profit we derived from 
it (page 152, vol. i.). It is only necessary to revert 
to page 137, where it will be seen that Colonel 
Sleeman, in writing to the Governor- General of India, 
strongly urged the assumption of the administration 
of Oude, stating : " What the people want, and most 
earnestly pray for, is that our Government should 
take upon itself the responsibility of governing them 


well and permanently. All classes, save the knaves 
who now surround and govern the king, earnestly 
pray for this : the educated classes, because they 
would then have a chance of respectable employment, 
which none of them now have ; the middle classes, 
because they find no protection or encouragement, 
and no hope that their children would be permitted 
to inherit the property they leave, not invested in our 
Government securities ; and the humbler classes, 
because they are now abandoned to the merciless 
rapacity of the starving troops and other public 
establishments, and of the landowners, driven and 
invited to rebellion by the present state of misrule." 

Colonel Sleeman was at the same time of opinion 
that the British Government, after assuming the ad- 
ministration, should honestly and distinctly disclaim 
all interested motives, and appropriate the whole of 
the revenue to the benefit of the people and royal 
family of Oude. The Governor-General, however, 
thought otherwise, and considered annexation the 
only effective remedy. He did so with the view, no 
doubt, of putting an end to the state of feverish 
excitement under which, from long-continued misrule, 
the people laboured; and also to guard against the 
likelihood of any course short of annexation keeping 
them in a state of suspense, and leading them to sup- 
pose that fear had restricted our interference to simply 
the administrative measure. 

But have annexations had the effect stated by the 


author of " The Sepoy War ? " Speaking from an 
experience of forty years of Indian official life, as topo- 
graphical surveyor ; as translator in Hindoostanee and 
Mharatta ; as sheriff ; as head of the Poona police ; 
as subordinate and chief uncovenanted assistant-judge ; 
as superintendent of police in the southern Mharatta 
country, and commissioner of police in Bombay, I 
have been in close, constant, and familiar intercourse 
with all classes of natives of India : and having been 
born there, and lived among them for a very great 
portion of the time, I venture to state that, with the 
exception of those whom Colonel Sleeman himself 
declares to be " the knaves who surround and govern 
the king," and those who surrounded native princes and 
talookdars and eenamdars, there were no others who 
made annexations or lapses or resumptions the reason 
for impugning the integrity of the British Govern - 
ment, or for concluding that the humanity of its acts 
had been " soiled " by the profit said to have been 
derived from them. If, on the other hand, the 
princes of India, and others, have so viewed the 
actions of the Government, the impression produced 
upon them, it is to be hoped, has been salutary 
and conducive to personal morality and to good 

The question may also be asked, "What evidence 
is there to show that the acts of the Government, so 
freely animadverted upon, had occasioned a deep- 
seated disloyalty to our rule in India, and that the 
c 2 


Mutiny had been incited by those whose position and 
importance our measures had been the means of 
crushing? Much is advanced in the way of conjec- 
ture. It is stated that the sepoy disliked annexation 
because it placed him on the dead level of British 
subjects ; that under the all-prevailing lawlessness 
and misrule which had so long over-ridden the 
province, the sepoy in the English service, whatever 
might be the wrongs of others, was always sure of 
a full measure of justice on appeal to the British 
Eesident. Either he himself or some member of his 
family is a small yeoman, with certain rights in the 
land, and in all the disputes and contentions in which 
these interests involved him, he had the protection and 
assistance of the Eesident, and, " right or wrong, carried 
his point!' Here an imputation is cast on British 
integrity, the gravity of which it is impossible to 
gauge ; but happily it calls for no vindication, for 
since the days of Impey and Oomichund, British pro- 
bity throughout India has been avowedly far beyond 
the reach of doubt or suspicion. Further on it is 
stated : " Many were the strange glosses which were 
given to the acts of the British Government ; various 
were the ingenious fictions woven for the purpose of 
unsettling the minds and uprooting the fidelity of 
the sepoy. If we annexed a province it was to facili- 
tate our proselytising operations and to increase the 
number of our converts. Our resumption operations 
were instituted for the purpose of destroying all the 


religious endowments of the country. Our legislative 
enactments were all tending to the same result — the 
subversion of Hindooism and Mahomedanism." I 
venture with perfect confidence to aver, that the veriest 
novice of British cadets would denounce the idea that 
any sepoy was to have been drawn into the belief of 
tales so monstrously absurd. As a rule, the sepoys 
were men of great intelligence, especially those of the 
Bengal army, who were all high-caste men, and their 
officers — the native captains and lieutenants — were 
pre-eminently men of good judgment. If there was 
any matter with reference to which their convictions 
could have remained unshaken, it was that the 
Government w r ould never tamper with their religion. 
Christian missionaries may have been sedulous in 
their efforts to proselytise, and addresses may have 
been extensively circulated in Bengal by Christian 
propagandists, to the effect that the " time had come 
when earnest consideration should be given to the 
question whether or not all mankind should embrace 
the same religion ; " and there may have been some 
solitary instances of officers of sepoy regiments who, 
from conscientious but mistaken ideas of Christian 
obligation, had been so imprudent as to address 
natives on the doctrines of Christianity. But in 
such cases Sir John Kaye himself acknowledges that 
these addresses were never made either in the sepoy 
lines or in the regimental bazaar ; and while one or 
two such officers acted the missionary, the major 


portion of their brother officers, I have no doubt, held 
up their conduct to the ridicule of their men. I have 
myself known and heard of such instances. Hence, 
whatever the amount of zeal displayed by the Christian 
missionary and his lay imitator, there could have been no 
misconception on the part of the native soldiery as to the 
freedom of the Government from complicity in such acts. 
The instrumentality by which sepoy allegiance 
was impaired is thus stated. That the men whose 
business it was to corrupt our sepoys were, perhaps, 
the agents of some of the old princely houses which 
we had destroyed, or members of the baronial families 
which we brought to poverty and disgrace. That 
they were, perhaps, the emissaries of Bhraminical 
societies whose precepts we were turning into folly, 
and whose power we were setting at naught. That 
they were, perhaps, mere visionaries and enthusiasts, 
moved only by their own disordered imaginations to 
proclaim the coming of some new prophet or some 
fresh avatar of the Deity, and the consequent down- 
fall of Christian supremacy in the East ; but, what- 
soever the nature of their mission, and whatever the 
guise they assumed, whether they appeared in the 
lines as passing travellers, as journeying hawkers, as 
religious mendicants, or as wandering puppet-show- 
men, the seed of sedition which they scattered struck 
root in a soil well prepared to receive it, and waited 
only for the ripening sun of circumstances to develop 
a harvest of revolt. Such is said to have been the 


instrumentality by which sepoy allegiance was im- 
paired. All this is mere imagination, and, in my 
opinion, quite out of place in a work professing to 
deal with the facts of authentic history. 

That religious toleration in regard to all creeds 
in India was maintained by the British Government 
with uncompromising firmness, was a fact perfectly 
well understood by every class of our native subjects 
in the Bombay Presidency ; and I have no hesitation 
in stating, that it was equally well understood 
throughout the rest of India. 

As chief uncovenanted assistant-judge* of Ahmed- 
nuggar, I was, cx-officio, president of the committee of 
the Government vernacular schools in that town, and 
two high caste leading Hindoo merchants, and the 
native magistrate of the place, who was a Bhramin, 
were my colleagues. It was not usual to admit the 
children of Mhars, and other low classes, into these 
schools ; but I had only to point out the hardship 
of their exclusion from a privilege which it was 
the intention of a paternal Government should be 
enjoyed by all classes of its subjects, for my colleagues 
to recognise and adopt the suggestion at once. They 
were strong in the conviction that toleration to all 
classes and creeds was the governing principle of 
British rule, and that the proposal covered no hidden 
desire for levelling any caste distinctions, nor for 
introducing any measure of Christian proselytism. 
* Principal Sudder Ameen. 


In 1847, a high caste Bhramin convert instituted 
a civil suit at Ahmednuggar for the 'recovery of his 
son, who was born a month or two. before the man 
embraced the Christian faith. He had failed to 
persuade his wife to join him, and over her he could 
exercise no legal control. But after the boy had 
attained the age of seven years, he took possession 
of him. The mother then complained to the magis- 
trate, who ordered the convert to give up his son to 
her : he did so, and filed a suit in my court for his 
recovery. The trial was exciting a great deal of sen- 
sation among the large Bhraminical population of the 
place. In all Indian courts a Hindoo and a Mahome- 
dan law officer are provided by the Government to 
assist the judges with expositions of the Hindoo and 
Mahomedan laws on points which bear upon the cases 
that come before them for adjudication. His ex- 
position of the law texts, quoted by the Hindoo law 
officer in this case, was against the convert's claim ; 
but happily, I happened to have by me the books 
which the law officer had consulted, and a reference 
to his texts clearly showed that they did not admit of 
the law officer's deductions. Having afterwards well 
considered all the special and technical grounds which 
led me to the conclusion that judgment ought to be in 
favour of the convert, I thought I should invite two 
Bhramins who were reputed for their learning in the 
Bhraminical laws, to discuss the merits of the case. 
After much deliberation, they arrived at the opinion 


that the only course open to me was to give judgment 
in favour of the convert. Judgment was accordingly 
pronounced. An appeal was made to the judge, and 
my judgment was annulled. The convert then, under 
the guidance of the Eev. Mr. Ballantine, appealed to 
the Sudder Dewanee Adawlut, which at the time 
was the highest civil court in the land, and ultimately 
the judge's decree was reversed and mine confirmed. 
Both judgment and appeal form the Appendix A. 

When a native wished to become a Christian, lie 
was obliged to take refuge with the missionary to 
avoid being persecuted by his friends and relations. 
Previous to my connection with the police, it Avas 
usually the practice for a large number of eastern en 
and idlers to make an attack upon the missionary and 
the intended convert, and to damage all the property 
that could be laid hands on. The police, as a rule, 
reached the scene after the disturbance was at an end, 
and the missionary invariably obtained no redress. 

During the year of the Indian Mutiny, the Rev. 
Doctor Wilson called one day at the police office, and 
mentioned to me that a young man of the Sied, or 
chief Mahomedan class, wished to become a Christian, 
but that having a very lively remembrance of the 
violence he had suffered in person and property on 
previous occasions, when the candidates were not of 
a class so fanatical as the Sieds, he thought he should 
not take any steps in the matter without seeing me, 
and he said it was absolutely necessary to afford the 


young man shelter in his house, or he would be dis- 
posed of by poison on his intention becoming known. 
On the following day the young man went to the 
doctor's house. Aware that an attack upon them 
would meet with no impunity, the priests and leaders 
among the Mahomedans called at the police office, 
and represented that they could not submit to the 
insult offered them and the indignity put upon 
Mahomedanism, and that such an outrage had never 
before been perpetrated. As soon as I thought they 
had exhausted the pleas they wished to put forward, I 
asked them if they knew the Padree-Lord ? (The 
native distinction of the Bishop of Bombay.) They 
replied " Yes." " Well, try and make a Mussulman 
of him, and if you succeed, I promise you that I shall 
take care the European population do not interfere 
with you." At the same time I seriously cautioned 
them against any breach of the peace. " Adopt legal 
measures," I said, "to any extent you think proper," 
or see what argument might do in winning back your 
apostate, and I shall be present to see that you 
have fair play." I was not again troubled in this 

A year or two after, a body of Mahomedan priests 
walked into the police office, and informed me that a 
European wished to embrace Mahomedanism, but that 
they declined to admit him without learning my views 
on the subject. I said if it was the man's wish to 
become a Mahomedan, I could have nothing to say 


against it. They then offered to call upon and ask 
him to see me, and accompanied him to the police 
office. He was a European of about five-and-twenty, 
a German by birth, and a Protestant ; spoke English 
fluently, showed no want of intelligence, and ex- 
pressed his belief in Mahomedanism with a degree 
of fervour which left me no alternative but to let 
him follow his own inclination. 

On another occasion, five young Parsees of seven- 
teen to twenty years of age, went away to Dr. Wilson's, 
to become Christians. Soon after, there was a crowd 
of Parsees at the police office, complaining of the 
" seduction, by the Christian missionary, of boys who 
were not old enough to form any judgment or opinion 
regarding their own religion." " Beware of com- 
mitting any breach of the peace," was my advice. 
" Adopt all possible legal measures, or try the efficacy 
of dissuasion, by means of argument." In this case 
the latter expedient was adopted. I named 10 a.m. 
on the following day for the meeting. To avoid 
confusion I thought it necessary to limit the number 
to half a dozen Parsees priests and friends ; and as 
the doctor was not in robust health, I appointed the 
meeting to take place at his residence. I was there 
at the hour named. The Parsees, too, were in 
attendance, and the discussion commenced very soon 
after. There was no outburst of passion on either 
side ; all was calm, quiet reasoning. The relative 
merits of Christianity and Zoroastrianism were fairly 


discussed. It was interesting to see these young 
men, who were students of the Scottish college, and 
of fair intellectual training, attending first to the 
arguments of the missionary, then to those of tiie 
Parsees, then thoughtfully weighing the expositions 
of each, and often taking part in the discussion 
themselves. The meeting was prolonged till about 
three o'clock, and the result was that four of them 
returned home to their friends, and one remained, and 
was shortly after admitted to the rite of Christian 

No missionary, previous to my time, could preach 
the gospel even in his own private grounds without 
being molested and very often assaulted by native 
bigots. But this was soon put a stop to, and proper 
police precautions secured freedom of access to teachers 
of all creeds and denominations ; to the Christian 
missionary, the Parsee mobid, the Mahomedan kazee, 
and the Hindoo pundit alike. Soon after the com- 
mencement of the Mutiny, the Mahomedans of Kur- 
rachee, it appears, fell into a state of excitement on 
seeing a board hung up in a missionary's verandah 
with the text, " He that believeth in Jesus, and is 
baptised, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not 
shall be damned." The Mahomedan priests applied 
to Sir Bartle Frere, who was then Commissioner of 
Scinde, to have it removed, on the ground that the 
public exhibition of such a text was derogatory to 
Mahomedanism. The application, for good reasons 


no doubt, was attended to, and the missionary desired 
to remove the board, which he did under a strong 
protest. This circumstance was followed by an 
application in Bombay by a body of Mahomedans, 
to prohibit Christian missionaries from preaching 
publicly, though standing upon their own grounds, 
as such preaching was a degradation of the religion 
of the Mahomedans. My answer to them was, " Put 
a stop to the practice, by all means, if you will. 
Make it worth the missionaries' while to sell you 
their grounds ; and if you are prepared to make the 
purchase, go and tell them, with my salams, that I 
had asked you to call upon them. These," I added, 
" were the only terms on which the preaching could 
be put a stop to; " and I gave them clearly to under- 
stand that I should not be influenced by the Kur- 
rachee example. I heard nothing more on the 

The following circumstances will give a fair idea 
of the confidence which the Bhramin priesthood of 
Western India had in British integrity and toleration. 
In order to discourage the preaching of European 
missionaries, and to influence the natives against 
their teaching, the Bhramin priests of Bombay — a 
large and influential body — availing themselves of 
the presence from the interior of a number of their 
most learned men, invited the missionaries to a dis- 
cussion on the relative merits of Christianity and 
Bhraminism. In Bombay there are no spacious 


buildings for the accommodation of large gatherings. 
These meetings were therefore held on the open sea- 
beach, and excited a deep and widespread interest. 
The Bhramins necessarily formed a very large 
majority, and the priests wishing to guard against 
the possibility of a breach of the peace by their 
followers, suggested to the missionaries that the 
attendance of the police should be requested. A 
deputation from both parties called at the police office 
for that purpose, and I arranged to go myself, and 
was present at five of their meetings. It was quite 
clear that there would be no conversion of Bhramins 
to Christianity ; nor was it less clear that there would 
be no leading of any Christian missionary into the 
fold of Bhraminism. I therefore proposed that the 
meetings should be brought to a close. This was at 
once assented to by the missionaries ; but the high 
priest of the Bhramins, exclaiming, " Hold on, sir ! I 
have a question or two to put to the missionaries," 
unfolded a piece of paper which he held in his hands 
and read out a long list of the different Christian 
denominations, with a visible feeling of triumph, 
and addressing the missionaries, said, " Sirs, you are 
all Christians, professing to serve a triune Grod, and 
seeking salvation in the atonement offered up by 
Jesus Christ, and how do you explain these dis- 
tinctions ? " The missionaries made a reply, which 
was patiently listened to ; and then, in a tone of great 
gravity, the Bhramin rejoined, " Sirs, your explanation 


is by no means satisfactory. I will give you one that 
is much more consistent. The approach to Bombay 
is not limited to a single beaten path. There are 
many ways of reaching it, and so are there many 
ways of reaching heaven. Your several ways have 
been vouchsafed to you ; to Bhramins, Bhraminism 
is the way ; to Mahomedans, Mahomedanism ; to 
Parsees, Zoroastrianism, and so on ; " and repeating 
some Sanscrit verses in a tone of exultation, he con- 
cluded by observing that it was best for each to keep 
to his own religion. 

Had I the inclination to dwell upon the subject it 
would not be difficult to show the lamentable extent to 
which Christianity has been blighted in India by our 
own divisions. And it would be by no means very 
flattering to our pride and superior intelligence to 
learn the opinion of the Bhramin priests on the 
extravagant views and practices of the ultra high 
church section of English Protestantism. 

During my official experience and free intercourse 
with the people, extending over a great many years, 
I had never heard the slightest whisper of suspicion 
with reference to complicity, or favouritism, or par- 
tiality, or bias on the part of any public functionary ; 
and with regard to the " sirkar," the confidence of the 
people I always found to be unbounded. In the 
southern Mharatta country, where there had been a 
good number of lapses and eenam resumptions, the 
people at large were jubilant, and discontent was 


confined only within palace recesses. In Bombay itself 
the detective organisation in connection with the 
police was of too perfect a kind to admit of the proba- 
bility — I may say, the possibility — of snch impression 
being existent without its being brought to my notice ; 
and I have the strongest conviction in stating that 
in respect to the religious element having had any- 
thing to do with weakening sepoy allegiance, the 
statements of the author of "The Sepoy War" are 
without any base to rest upon. 

But is Sir John Kaye right in saying that our 


measures of annexation and resumption had so under- 
mined the confidence of the people in British integrity 
and excited discontent so widespread as to have paved 
the way for the outbreak of the Mutiny ? If want of 
confidence in British rule was so universal, how are 
we to account for the loyal conduct of Holkar, of 
Scindia, and a host of other feudatories, whose names 
appear in the pages of "The Sepoy War?" The 
revolt of Holkar's troops was brought on by the 
contaminating influences of our own troops at Mhow. 
It was so unexpected, and the attack upon the resi- 
dency so sudden, that terror and confusion reigned 
supreme within the palace. The reports brought to 
Holkar as to the cause of the outbreak were wild, 
contradictory, and bewildering ; and the mysterious 
night of the British B,esident from Indore, Holkar's 
chief councillor in all circumstances of difficulty and 
danger, made the confusion still more confounding. 


Immediately after this the mutiny at Mhow took 
place, and the sepoys, marching to Indore, nnited with 
the forces of Holkar, and for a time at least made 
common cause with them. Holkar, however, iden- 
tified himself with the British, and with a sublime 
forget fulness of self and the personal danger he in- 
curred, afforded an instance of loyalty which the most 
unreasonably sceptical only would venture to question. 
Scindia's conduct, too, has been throughout most 
brilliantly loyal. The same may be said of the Chief 
of Joobooah, the Begum of Bhopal, the Bajas of 
Puteeala, Jheend, Mahidpoor, Jahodpore, Bhurtpoor, 
Jyepoor, Ulwar, Dholepoor, the Maharana of Oodey- 
poor, and the chiefs of Rajpootana, and no doubt 
of a large number of others. I am strong in the 
conviction that loyalty to the British cause would 
have been general but for the fear inspired by the 

Under the influence of fear and the promptings 
of the natural instinct of self-preservation, the 
strongest feelings of loyalty might cease to exist. 
The inhabitants of Bombay, than whom there is 
not a more devotedly loyal people in any part of 
the world, were also painfully swayed by feelings 
of apprehension in consequence of the persistence 
with which the mutineers at Cawnpoor, Lucknow, 
and Delhi, were able to maintain their ground. 
And I have no hesitation in stating that if the 
sepoy regiments in Bombay had mutinied, and by 


some chance obtained a temporary advantage, de- 
votedly loyal as Bombay was, not a single man in it 
would have had the courage to engage openly in our 
defence, but would at once, though most unwillingly, 
have sided with the stronger party. Private and 
secret succour we should have .had to the fullest 
extent; but from everything involving danger to 
person and property, they would have strictly ab- 
stained. Could we have expected more in the dis- 
turbed districts ? 

They regarded the crisis with great anxiety on 
account of their own safety ; for the sepoys, who were 
trained in our school of discipline and warfare, and 
had helped us to effect the conquest of India, were 
maintaining their stand against the Government 
successfully and with great valour and determination. 
The bare possibility of the mutineers being successful 
inspired the people of Bombay with great fear ; and 
the large number of letters I received from native 
friends in the interior, as to the fears entertained 
by the people generally of the possible success of 
the mutineers, left no doubt in my mind, that that 
fear was general and by no means limited. 

Were the people of India a united nation, they 
would have had no cause of apprehension ; but largely 
intersected as they are by caste and class distinctions, 
and still more so by religious prejudices, and having 
at the same time both personal experience and tra- 
ditional knowledge of the anarchy common to native 


rule, and conscious of the antagonisms that would 
pervade the length and breadth of India in the event 
of the expulsion of the British — if there was any one 
matter in respect to which the feelings of India were 
united, it was in the wish that the mutineers might 
not be the successful party. The voice of allegiance 
may not have been audible to most English ears, but 
it was sufficiently audible to satisfy, most fully, those 
who were familiar with the feelings and characteristics 
of the natives. 

The native princes who " presented a revolting 
picture of the worst type of misrule, of feebleness 
worse than despotism, of apathy more productive of 
human suffering than the worst forms of tyrannous 
activity; who, abstaining from all controlling authority, 
permitted the strong to carry on everywhere a war 
of extermination against the weak," were just those 
whom it was found necessary, in the exercise of a wise 
policy, to set aside by means of annexation or by the 
opportunity afforded by lapses. These chiefs and the 
talookdars, with their rabble adherents, finding the 
native army in a high state of inflammation, and 
freely boasting of their valour as being equal to that 
of the European, were no doubt gradually tempted to 
inspire the sepoys with the belief that a revolt on 
their part would prove a most popular act. In this 
too they must have found it necessary to act with 
the greatest caution; to satisfy themselves that the 
ground upon which they stood was no quagmire, and 
d 2 


that sepoy allegiance was in a state of disruption; for 
nothing but the clearest evidence of this would have 
tempted the Nana, or the King of Delhi, or any one 
else, whether prince, noble, or commoner, to dare to 
tamper with sepoy fidelity. 

In 1802, when it was proposed to the Peshwa of 
Poona that the British should enlist a body of native 
horse, designated Spiller's Horse, and more commonly 
known as the Poona Horse, and to enrol a couple of 
native battalions, known as Ford's regiments, both 
prince and courtiers received the proposal with an 
ecstasy of delight, believing that it would work for 
their advantage, as the men enlisted wo aid be the 
Peshwa's subjects, and in the event of any exigency 
presenting itself, all that would need be done would 
be to order them to join the Peshwa's forces. The 
exigency did present itself. The request to join was 
conveyed to both horse and foot. The reception that 
the request met with, is matter of history. 

The chief rissaldar or native captain of the body 
of horse was Dajee Saib, a descendant of Tanajee 
Malosroy, who was the general of the forces of Shi- 
vajee Maharaj, the founder of the Mharatta empire. 
It is said that finding the impregnable hill-fort of 
Shewghur (lion's den), in the neighbourhood of 
Poona so guarded, that the only means of effecting its 
capture was by a surprise, Tanajee Eoa had provided 
himself with an animal known in India as the ghore- 
pudde, possessed of wonderful tenacity of grip, and 


remarkable for the ease with which it can run up a 
wall. He attached a rope to its waist, took advantage 
of a dark night, approached the fort with his party, 
and letting the animal ascend the fortification, was 
the first who pulled himself up by means of the rope. 
An alarm was raised by the garrison, and was followed 
by a challenge, the reply to which was an arrow 
from Tanajee Eoa's bow discharged into the chal- 
lenging sentry who was killed on the spot. The 
garrison immediately mustered to arms, Tanajee was 
slain, and his party attempted to retreat, but were 
rallied by his brother Sooriajee, who had, in the 
meantime, gained the heights with the rest of the 
men. A fierce struggle ensued, and the fort was 
captured. When the success of the expedition was 
reported to Shivajee, he exclaimed in sorrow, " The 
den has been taken, but the lion that captured it is no 
more." In commemoration of the event, the family 
has ever since been surnamed Grhorepudde. The 
above circumstances, well known in Poona, were 
repeated afresh to Dajee Saib, the native captain of 
the Poona Horse, by the Peshwa's emissaries. The 
sorrow and admiration expressed by Shivajee for the 
devotion with which his ancestor encountered death 
in the discharge of his duty to his sovereign, were 
vividly dwelt upon in order to revive his feelings of 
allegiance and loyalty to his native prince ; but all 
was in vain. The native officers of both horse and 
foot promised fairly and received the bribes offered 


them ; but when the moment arrived the enemy- 
made the discovery that they had misplaced their 
confidence. Aided by these men, who were led on 
by only three or four European officers, the small 
European force, then at our disposal, encountered the 
hosts marshalled against us by the enemy, and 
inflicted upon them an irretrievable defeat, — the 
body of horse, numbering under a thousand, led on 
by Captain Spiller, charging most successfully the 
enemy's horse five thousand strong. All this the 
Nana was perfectly aware of. These and other no 
less signal victories were achieved by our forces, 
assisted by the native army, during periods when 
the faith of the native soldier was strong in the 
omnipotence of the white man's fighting power and 
indomitable pluck. But we dispelled the charm 
and suffered the consequent penalty. 

It is often strongly dwelt upon by Sir John Kaye, 
that there would have been no sepoy outbreak if we 
had treated the princes and feudatories and talookdars 
and others as they should have been treated ; that is, 
if we permitted them to outrage humanity without 
let or hindrance, and violate every principle of law 
and morality. Even on grounds of political ex- 
pediency the extenuation of such conduct would 
hardly be attempted; and the author of "The Sepoy 
War" himself would have found it an impossible 
undertaking to reconcile the sanction and encourage- 
ment of extreme cruelty and turpitude with the stern 


and uncompromising dictates of morality, and with 
those principles of duty, due from the governing body 
to the governed, which political experience in all ages 
of the world has laid down as an inviolable axiom, 
namely, the good government and the welfare of the 

General Sir George le Grand Jacob, K.C.S.L, 
who, in his " Western India/' following the footsteps 
of his great prototype, the author of " The Sepoy 
War," has uttered a groan, and implied that he could 
utter a deeper groan, has given, under the title of 
Female Eulers, Plot and Counter-plot, and Succession 
Troubles — terms in themselves of no small signi- 
ficance — instances of depravity and misrule which 
exemplify the wisdom of the Government in carrying 
out the measures which Sir John Kaye and General 
Jacob strongly deprecate. Of the female rulers, she 
whom the General designates as the heroine of his 
" story," made away, successively, with her father-in- 
law, her husband, and her son, because they stood in 
her way ; then to quiet the qualms of her conscience, 
she placed the principality for the time in her 
daughter-in-law's charge, and proceeded on a distant 
pilgrimage. During her absence, the daughter-in- 
law, equally ambitious to rule, arranged to forestall 
the heroine, who on her return, finding the palace 
inaccessible to her, proceeded some hundreds of miles 
away to the British Eesident, and beset him with her 
grievances, and corrupted his native subordinates with 


her gold. Finding this ineffective, she returned, 
raised the country, " enrolled cut-throats, " "took the 
field," had an engagement, in which one of her chiefs 
was killed at her side, and eventually, by means 
chiefly of bribery and corruption, reinstated herself. 
It then became the turn of the daughter-in-law to 
beset the British Resident with her ineffective wail. 

The next is the case of a prince who died leaving 
three widows, apparently without hope of issue. Each 
of these women did her best to promote her own 
views and ends, and they vied with each other in 
bribing the native officials of the Residency. Intrigue 
succeeded intrigue. Troops, or as the General has 
more correctly described them in another part, cut- 
throats, were raised, which rendered repressive 
measures necessary. At this stage, one of the widows 
was declared to be pregnant. Various means became 
necessary to test the truth of this, but it was no easy 
matter, for no male, not even a brother, after child- 
hood, can see a young Rajpoot lady of rank. There 
was satisfactory evidence, however, of the pregnancy, 
and steps the most conclusively effective were. taken, 
to guard against a spurious substitution if the child 
should prove to be a girl. But plots and counterplots 
still continued ; the General himself was very nearly 
poisoned ; and such was the scepticism of the opposite 
party, that there were no means of convincing them 
that fair play was intended by the British authorities. 
The woman was at last in the pains of labour ; the 


European surgeon of the Eesidency was in attendance, 
and the opposing ladies were sent for to be present 
at the birth. They declined at first to come j but 
the General was urgent, and they yielded. They 
arrived after the birth had taken place. The child 
was a boy, and though the evidence that it had been 
just then born was in all respects positive, they would 
not be convinced, aud went away denouncing it all 
to be a sham and a subterfuge ! And this was 
followed by the Resident and his assistant, the 
General, being accused of guilty connivance and court 

The next case of succession troubles is one in 
which the death of a Nabob left three claimants to 
the estate, the first of whom was his stepson, who 
held a formal deed of succession from the deceased, 
but which, during lifetime, the deceased had treated 
as null and void. He had associated with his own, 
the name of the second claimant, who was his own 
sod, and in all state papers proclaimed him heir, and 
treated him as such. The mother of the third 
claimant was of royal blood, and held that her son 
had the best right. The right of the second son, 
however, was acknowledged by the British Govern- 
ment. A plot was immediately set on foot, followed 
by the enrolment of armed mercenaries, which 
rendered necessary a display of military force. After 
an interview, which the General had had with the 
elder of the disputants, he was so surrounded and held 


by Arab mercenaries, that but for a commendable 
exercise of patience and good judgment, be would 
have been cut down. These disputes led to the 
disorganisation of the principality, and to insurgent 
gangs raising the standard of revolt, against whom 
the General found it necessary to march with British 
troops. In the meantime a plot was matured for 
shooting the prince who was placed on the throne 
by the British Government, and it was only after a 
great deal of trouble and some bloodshed that the 
tranquillity of the principality was restored. 

Another principality was then thrown into a state 
of confusion for reasons of disputed succession, which 
too was only quelled by a march up and show of force. 
This was followed by another similar disturbance, 
with an array of forces on both sides, which was not 
quelled without a collision, attended with some 
slaughter and bloodshed. 

Such is about the normal condition of successions 
in India. The General has confined himself to 
matters connected with his political and military 
occupations ; but it is easy to imagine the very great 
extent to which the peace and quiet of the general 
population must have been disturbed, and the hard- 
ship and oppression they must have been subjected to. 

But it is argued that the native mind is essentially 
conservative ; that our system of government might 
be far better and more civilised than their system, but 
that the people did not like it better ; that they clung 


to their own institutions, however rude and defective, 
and were averse to any change, even though it were 
a change for the better. It is impossible to say by 
what means this notion of the conservatism of India 
was arrived at. To suppose that any race of men 
would prefer grinding despotism to a rule of justice 
and equity ; to suppose that systematic oppression, 
accompanied by murder, pillage, incendiarism, and 
gang robbery would be a more desirable condition, 
than a life of peace and safety, under the protecting 
wings of an impartial and powerful Government, is to 
suppose something that is contradicted by the most 
ordinary experience and the plain common sense of 

When the trial of the Gaeekwar, on the charge of 
having poisoned Colonel Phayre, was in prosecution, 
the agricultural and artisan classes, who form a very 
large proportion of the population, petitioned Govern- 
ment that the country might not be absorbed, but 
continued to that prince. Surprise, I am aware, was 
expressed at the time, that such a petition should have 
been submitted, and conclusions were hastily drawn, 
that though the people might deem our administration 
free from oppression, they still preferred their own 
native rule, with all its defects and disadvantages. 
Neither the agricultural nor artisan classes would, of 
course, have thought of such a petition, without its 
having been suggested to them. And were the i>ruth 
known — and there were many, no doubt, who were 


cognisant of the truth — it would have been seen that 
the consideration which influenced them in signing the 
petition was, if the country was annexed, they would 
not be worse treated by the British Government for 
having signed the petition ; but if, on the other hand, 
they declined to take part in the petition, and the 
government of the Graeekwar was continued, their 
refusal to sign was sure to be visited by some addi- 
tional impost, and hence the signatories deemed it 
prudent to take part in the petition. This is the 
true and simple explanation of the matter. 

Again, what evidence is there that those who are 
supposed to have incited the Mutiny, or to have made 
common cause with the mutineers after the outbreak, 
would not have done so but for the dispossession and 
the ruin they are said to have suffered. The King 
of Delhi had been subjected to neither dispossession 
nor ruin ; but on the contrary, was rescued from the 
condition of a prisoner, and maintained by the British 
Government in all the pomp and parade of regal 
splendour. He lived on from childhood to adoles- 
cence, from adolescence to manhood, and from man- 
hood to years of decrepitude, without, in all probability, 
a single thought of discontent ever crossing his mind 
or that of his sons ; or a single idea suggesting itself 
that he or they could sway a sceptre with safety to 
themselves or with advantage to the country. The 
universally acknowledged omnipotence of British power 
could have left no room for such a thought ; nor, till 


latterly, was there any reason to doubt sepoy alle- 
giance or sepoy devotion to the British cause. But 
the cartridge question was then in agitation, and in 
some regiments there was insubordination, and if not 
actual mutiny, something very much akin to it. 

That the Mutiny sprung from causes inherent in 
the organisation of the sepoy army, and that it was 
not the result of incitement, I hope in another chapter 
to be able to show. The insubordination and the 
state of disquietude among the sepoys were, no doubt, 
known to the king; but the outbreak at Meerut. 
with the murder of most of the European officers, the 
march of the mutineers to Delhi, their coalition with 
the regiments stationed at Delhi, the slaughter there 
of Europeans, the advance to the palace, and the 
proposal to the king to have him installed as their 
sovereign, accompanied probably with some show 
of coercion, were circumstances which must have 
convinced him that the British power had become 
cankered. And the mutineers, too, must have looked 
forward to the prestige which a union with the ancient 
house of Timour was calculated to impart. That the 
presence of such a person as the King of Delhi 
at the head of the rebel hosts tended to foster 
rebellion, and, by affording a centre of convergence, 
imparted hope, encouragement, and strength to the 
mutineers, and that the combinations which centred 
in Delhi were such as had immeasurably augmented 
the difficulties which the Government had to contend 


with, are beyond question. Would these difficulties 
have been what they proved to be if the king had 
not been present at Delhi? Other instances in the 
Bengal Presidency may be mentioned, in which 
princes, feudatories, and others made common cause 
with the mutineers after several of the outbreaks 
had taken place. 

In the Bombay Presidency there were the Eajas 
of Kolapoor. The succession was secured to them by 
a double line. Both princes were young. There was 
no probability of a failure of progeny, nor was any 
portion of their territorial possession subjected to the 
process of amputation ; but still, suspicion against the 
younger prince of complicity with the mutineers was 
so strong that General Jacob found it necessary to 
recommend and carry out his deportation to Scinde, 
his presence at Kolapoor being considered to be 

There is also the case of the Nurgoond chief, 
whose only grievance was said to be the prospect of 
refusal by the Government to allow him to adopt. 
He was a man of middle age, and no native, with the 
freedom to marry more wives than one, abandons the 
hope of an heir to inherit his possessions. On finding 
that the native regiments in Bengal had proved dis- 
loyal, and that those who had established themselves 
at Delhi had not been evicted, and also that the 
regiment at Kolapoor had mutinied, and those at 
Belgaum and Dharwar were very largely tainted, he 


too thought, no doubt, that he should try in time 
to get what he could ; and to his unfortunate act 
of rebellion he added the atrocity of murdering 
Mr. Manson. 

These instances of active and overt disloyalty 
clearly showed that the annexations and lapses and 
resumptions, so loudly denounced by the author of 
" The Sepoy War," and others, are not to be viewed 
as unmitigated evils, such as they have been repre- 
sented to be. On the other hand, considering the 
terrible disasters inflicted by the Sepoy Mutiny, that 
the conflagration was spreading far and wide, that the 
European forces in the country were merely a handful, 
that the sepoy hosts, disciplined and trained in the 
arts of war by ourselves, were overwhelming in their 
numbers and daring, and, notwithstanding all the 
efforts to dislodge them, exhibited considerable judg- 
ment in being able to maintain their hold in Delhi, — 
considering all these circumstances, is it surprising 
that some among the vast populations of India should 
have been bold, ambitious, and enterprising? — some 
who, by plunging into the perils of treason, should 
choose to run the gauntlet of any and all dangers ? 
To this extent I am prepared to admit the existence 
of rebellion during the period of the Mutiny — that 
bold men, men of enterprise and daring, men prompted 
by personal advantage, by the cravings of self-interest, 
did make common cause with the hydra- headed 
monster, mutiny, after it had fully exhibited its 


destructive tendency. But that the Nana, or any 
one else, had incited the mutiny, I hold to be a 

What are the grounds upon which it is stated 
that the Nana was the prime mover in the work of 
seducing the sepoys from their allegiance? I shall 
quote from the author of " The Sepoy War " (page 
578, vol i.) : — "By this Dhundo-pant Nana Saib, by 
all who were festering with resentment against the 
English, and malignantly biding their time, the 
annexation of Oude had been welcomed as a material 
aid to the success of their machinations. It was no 
sudden thought, born of the accident of the greased 
cartridges, that took the disappointed Bhramin and his 
Mahomedan friend to Lucknow in the spring of the 
year of trouble. For months — for years, indeed — 
ever since the failure of the mission to England had 
been apparent, they had been quietly spreading their 
network of intrigue all over the country. From one 
native court to another native court, from one ex- 
tremity to another of the great continent of India, 
the agents of the Nana Saib had passed with over- 
tures and invitations, discreetly, perhaps mysteriously 
worded, to princes and chiefs of different races and 
religions — but most hopefully of all to the Mharattas. 
At the great Mharatta families, the families of the 
Baja of Suttarah, of the Peshwa, and of the Bhosla, 
Lord Dalhousie had struck deadly blows. In the 
southern Mharatta country, indeed, it seemed that 


princes and nobles were alike ripe for rebellion.* It 
was a significant fact that the agents of the great 
Suttarah and Poona families had been doing their 
masters' work in England about the same time, that 
both had returned to India rank rebels, and that the 
first year of Lord Canning's administration, found 
Rungo Bapoojee as active for evil in the south as 
Agimoollah was in the north — both able and un- 
scrupulous men, and hating the English with a 
deadlier hatred for the very kindness that had been 
shown to them. But it was not until the crown had 
been set upon the annexations of Lord Dalhousie by 
the seizure of Oude that the Nana Saib and his accom- 
plices saw much prospect of success. That event was 
the turning-point of their career of intrigue. What 
had before been difficult was now made easy by this 
last act of English usurpation. Not only were the 
ministers of the King of Oude tampering with the 
troops at the Presidency, and sowing dangerous lies 
broadcast over the length and breadth of the land, 
but such was the impression made by the last of our 
annexations, that men asked each other who was safe, 
and what use was there in fidelity when so faithful a 
friend and ally as the King of Oude was stripped of 
his dominions by the Government whom he had aided 

* The state in which I found the Belgaum division of the Southern 
Mharatta country, the measures adopted in reorganising and reforming 
the police, and the opposition met with and overcome — to which the 
safety of the Southern Mharatta country during the Mutiny was in a 
very great measure due, — are stated under Appendix D. 


in its need ? It is said that princes and chiefs who 
had held back then came forward, and that the Nana 
began to receive answers to his appeals." 

The above, as will be seen from a footnote, is 
snrmise, based on the statement of a man, said to 
have been the Nana's emissary, who was detained at 
Mysore and examined. What this man states is, 
" The Nana wrote at intervals, two or three months 
previous to the annexation of Oude ; but at first he 
got no answers. Nobody had any hope. After the 
annexation he wrote still more, and then the soukars 
of Lucknow joined in his views. Maun Sing, who 
is chief of the poorbeahs or pardesee, joined. Then 
the sepoys began to form plans among themselves, 
and the Lucknow soukars supported them. Until 
Oude was annexed, Nana Saib did not get answers 
from any one ; but when that occurred, many began 
to take courage and to answer him. The plot among 
the sepoys first took place — the discontent about the 
greased cartridges. Then answers began to pour in. 
Grolab Sing, of Jummoo, was the first to send an 
answer. He said that he was ready with men, 
money, and arms, and he sent money to Nana Saib 
through one of the Lucknow soukars/' 

It is a maxim of law, and of common sense too, 
that the testimony of a witness, to be acknowledged 
as reliable, must bear the impress of truth in every 
particular. But the only available test — the conduct 
of Grolab Sing, of Jummoo — by which this man's 


evidence is to be estimated, brands it at once as false 
and nntrust worthy. From first to last Golab Sing 
stood staunchly by our side. That the soukars of 
Lucknow joined in the Nana's views before the 
Mutiny and supported them is too absurd to be 
even alluded to. That the princes and nobles of 
the southern Mharatta country were alike ripe for 
rebellion is equally without foundation. According 
to General Jacob, the conduct of one of the princes 
of Kolapoor was not above suspicion ; and the chief 
of Nurgoond committed himself by acts of active 
hostility. But on the other side might have been 
catalogued the Rajas of Gudjunderghur, Mhodole, 
and Savanoor, and a long list of chiefs. Look for 
instance at the conduct of the Eamdroog chief — half- 
brother to the traitor of Nurgoond. He remained 
not only firm in his loyalty to the British Govern- 
ment, but placed in Mr. Manson's hands the letter 
received from his brother, urging him to co-operation 
in expelling the English from India. 

If anything was an unveiled fact to the kings, 
princes, and nobles of India, it was, that from the 
very earliest time the policy of the British in India 
was an aggressive policy. They saw their dominions 
gradually extending. Now one potentate was over- 
thrown, now another, and their territories absorbed. 
The fear inspired by such aggressions led to a general 
confederacy against the British, in 1779, of the Mha- 
rattas, Hyder Alii, and the Nizam of Hydrabad ; and 
e 2 


the exorbitant exactions imposed on the Raja Cheyte 
Sing, of Benares, and others, by the Governor- General 
of India, led to similar combinations on the Bengal 
side. Cheyte Sing, moreover, was a prince who was 
popular and beloved by his subjects. By an act of 
the most unexampled imprudence, the Governor- 
General placed himself in his power, and found him- 
self a prisoner. This was followed by a widespread 
insurrection, to quell which, and to liberate the 
Governor- General, troops — by far the greater portion 
sepoys — took part, and fought against " their own con- 
nections and friends, in the heart of their own country! " 
But sepoy fidelity stood unimpaired under even those 
fiery tests ; and the combination for the overthrow of 
British power, though widely ramified, proved of no 
avail. It was then that the question might have 
Ix^en asked, "Who was safe?" When at a later 
period the power of the great Hyder Alii was smitten 
down at the gates of his own capital, then, too, the 
princes and nobles of India, formidable as they were 
at the time, might have repeated the inquiry, " Who 
was safe?" and engaged in " quietly spreading the 
network of intrigue all over the country; from one 
native court to another native court; from one ex- 
tremity to another of the great continent of India." 
And it was then for some wily Machiavel to have 
undertaken the task, from the Himalaya to Cape 
Comorin, of bringing into a well-banded coalition 
"the princes and chiefs of different races and 


religions." But could the Nana have heen ignorant 
of the fact that his adoptive father, the Peshwa 
Bajee Roa, had made the most strenuous efforts to 
hring about such a coalition, that he had had at his 
command powerful feudatories, men who with their 
Mharatta hordes had conquered Delhi and Mooltan, 
had carried their conquests to the classic rivers of Alex- 
ander, had swept up to the confines of Afghanistan, 
and had installed and proclaimed emperors ? Could 
he have been ignorant that previous to the outbreak 
of the war his adoptive father had made the most 
persistent efforts to bring about sepoy defection ; that 
at the time of the conflict with the British, he had 
the families and friends of the sepoys in his power, and 
acted with cruel severity towards them. And could 
he have been ignorant of the fact that even all this 
had failed to impair sepoy allegiance t If such was 
the case during the days of their superior strength 
and our comparative weakness, is it possible that the 
Nana, or any number of other individuals, during the 
days of our strength and India's weakness could have 
been successful in such an undertaking ? The answer, 
I think, is simple enough and obvious enough. And 
is it likely that the Nana, by despatching emissaries 
"all over the country, from one native court to 
another native court, from one extremity to another 
of the great continent of India," could have enter- 
tained the idea of inducing all the princes and nobles 
— whom, with one or two exceptions, he had never 


seen, and who were perfect strangers to him — to fall 
in with his intentions, and those intentions involving 
the peril of life and property ? Such a thought might 
have been possible under more auspicious circum- 
stances, and with more promising political prospects ; 
certainly not when they were the reverse of promising. 
And by such a man too as the Nana, who was con- 
stitutionally a coward, and who, on learning that 
Havelock and his handful of Europeans were within 
a couple of days' march of Cawnpoor, disappeared 
from the scene without so much as striking a single 
blow ! The statement in General Jacob's " Western 
India," that Chimma Saib had been waited on by 
emissaries from the Nana, one of whom, who had 
travelled round by the south, coming last from 
Mysore, had informed him that he had secured the 
co-operation of forty different regiments, and that 
Chimma Saib had bid him assure the Nana that he 
had gained over all the red-coated men in the southern 
Mharatta country, may be classed with the mythical. 
It may, I think, be safely assumed, that instead of 
being the seducer of the sepoys, Chimma Saib was 
probably their dupe. And from an intercepted letter 
quoted by General Jacob, which was posted by a sepoy 
in the regiment at Belgaum, purporting to be from 
several sepoys to their brethren of the 75th Bengal 
Native Infantry, stating, "We are your children, do 
with us as it may seem best to you ; in your salvation 
is our safety. We are all of one mind ; on your 


intimation we shall come running ; " it will appear 
that the seduction, as a rule, came from the mutineers 
of the Bengal Presidency. 

General Jacob " was sorely puzzled to account for 
the mutiny at Kolapoor." Two days "were spent" 
in the ineffectual task of " examining every officer, 
European and native, of the regiment and others, 
without any clue to the causes of discontent or 
explanation of the extraordinary conduct of the men ; 
not one would or could admit the existence of any 
grievance, or assign any reason for the outbreak." 
This is by no means surprising. They had no 
grievance, and could improvise none to meet the 
General's inquiry. Instead of attempting, in the 
regiment itself, to trace the cause of the outbreak, 
a glance at the progress of the mutiny in the Bengal 
Presidency would have disclosed this fact to General 
Jacob, that it proceeded from a derogated estimation, 
on the part of the sepoy, of the importance of the 
European, and from a highly inflated view of his own 
superiority, which the Daood Begs in the regiment 
took advantage of and worked upon. Take, for 
instance, the statement of the sepoy who, on the 
night of the mutiny, escaped to his village. When 
taken into custody and asked why he had not kept 
with his European officers, he replied, "Where was 
I to go? All the world said the English raj had 
come to an end, and so, being a quiet man, I thought 
the best place to take refuge in was my own home." 


This is clearly illustrative of the extent to which the 
less intelligent among the men had been practised 
upon by the bolder and the more daring. 

Sir John Kaye states that the Kolapoor mutiny 
did not come out of the greased cartridges, but out of 
the Sattarra lapse. There is not one word of evidence 
or authority for the statement. The only thing ad- 
vanced is, that it " may he assumed, without any violent 
straining of the imagination," that Eungo Bahoojee, 
who had been to England as the advocate of the 
Sattarra claimant, must have been in communication 
with the Nana.* General Jacob states: "The con- 
spiracies in "Western India first came to light at 
Sattarra through the exertions of Mr. Eose and his 
able assistants, and were there nipped in the bud by 
the deportation of the two Sattarra princes, and the 
execution of sundry conspirators." These events 
occurred during the height of the Mutiny agitation in 
Bombay and elsewhere, and I was not aware of the 
grounds upon which the executions had taken place. 
A few months after, Kooshaba Leemiah, a Bhramin 
gentleman of great intelligence (an alumnus of the 
Poona College, who was formerly my clerk in the 
Poona Police, and afterwards, for some years, tutor 
to the Eaja of Jamkhundee, and at the period of 

* This man was captured by my detectives iu 1863 in the neighbour- 
hood of Ajmeer ; but two medical officers were of the opinion that his 
appearance did not correspond with the description given of him at the 
time of the mutiny. Particulars will be found in my letter to Govern- 
ment, and a subjoined note, Appendix B. 


the Mutiny, sudder ameen or second class native 
judge of Sattarra), came on a visit to Bombay and 
called to see me. Alluding to the executions at 
Sattarra, I said, "I hope, Kooshaba, you rendered 
some eminent service to the Government at the time." 
His answer was : " Sir, I had nothing to do with the 
executions. The panic at Sattarra was such that the 
authorities had lost their heads, and every designing 
scoundrel took advantage of it. You are aware how 
remarkably cautious natives always are. Is it possible 
that, without making quite sure of the grounds upon 
which they were acting, they would attempt any com- 
munication suggestive of treason to the sepoys ? or 
that a rabble was likely to arrange an attack on 
the camp, guarded as it was by the native regiments 
whose loyalty there was no reason whatever at the 
time to doubt ? " Sir Henry Anderson will remember 
my incidentally mentioning what the sudder ameen 
had stated to me, and his having afterwards called 
on Sir Henry and repeated it to him. 

General Jacob has instanced the fact of native 
officers who sat in judgment upon and condemned 
their fellows, having been themselves subsequently 
tried, condemned, and executed. He has instanced also 
the fact of a native captain having made himself con- 
spicuous by seizing a man who had gone to him with 
a message of inquiry from some person of note as to 
" co-operation and promise of support." The man 
was tried, convicted, and executed on the evidence, 


no doubt, of the native captain, who was himself 
afterwards proved to have been one of the leaders of 
the mutiny, and, after a long and careful trial, was 
condemned and executed. The fact is, every regiment 
was tainted and watchful of the progress of events in 
the north ; and being aware of the doubts entertained 
as to their own fidelity, freely accused others in order 
to avert suspicion from themselves. 

General Jacob states that the commander of the 
Jamkhundee troops was an active agent in the con- 
spiracy, and, on proof of carrying on a seditious 
correspondence with our soldiery, was tried and 
executed. The Eaja of Jamkhundee was himself 
so charged, and placed in confinement at Belgaum, 
under a European guard, and was brought to trial, 
and would, in all human probability, have terminated 
nis career at the gallows or at the cannon's mouth, 
but for his having employed Mr. Barton, a barrister 
of the Supreme Court of Bombay, who showed up 
the puerility and worthlessness of the evidence 
brought against him. 

The General mentions that Chimma Saib, the 
younger of the Rajas of Kolapoor, whom he had 
sent for and had had an interview with, when re- 
turniDg home, found the streets crowded with women 
cracking their fingers' joints over their heads, and 
uttering cries of joy and congratulation at his having 
gone back to them. And this manifestation, he con- 
cludes, denoted the Raja's popularit}^ and the fact of 


" his being the head of the rebellious movement." 
Womankind will always take a deep interest in a 
handsome young man, especially if he happens to be 
a prince. We all remember the story of the laird's 
son, who said he had never seen a man hanged, and 
would like to witness such a sight ; and of the good 
woman, the wife of a feudatory, who happened to 
hear the wish expressed, running away to her spouse 
and exclaiming, " John, dear, do go and be hanged ; 
it would so please the young laird." At a time when 
executions were by no means uncommon, the women 
of Kolapoor concluded that when the young Eaja had 
been sent for by the great British functionary, with 
whom rested the dispensation of life and death, he 
had gone to meet his doom, and were, no doubt, re- 
joiced to find that he had been allowed to return safe 
and alive. But to suppose that any rebel, whatever 
his position, would make confidants of all the women 
in the place, is to suppose what is perfectly absurd. 

The author of " The Sepoy War " has repeatedly 
alluded to annexations and lapses and resumptions 
in terms of condemnation, and has reiterated the 
assertion, that by giving effect to them, we caused 
widespread discontent, and, to a perilous extent, 
weakened our hold upon India. The instances I 
have enumerated point to an opposite conclusion, and 
are suggestive of the belief that if the measures 
carried out by Lord Dalhousie in vindication, of the 
rights of humanity had not been carried out, the 


omission would have been imputed by the people 
of India to pusillanimity ; and when the perils of the 
sepoy outbreak had come upon us, we should have 
encountered from the princes and nobles of the land 
an opposition all the more formidable. 

No one will deny that we were very largely 
assisted by the Sikhs during the outbreak. If, after 
the second war, we had followed the advice of those 
politicians who apprehended danger and disaster 
in the acquisition and extension of territory, and 
allowed the Sikhs to retain their government, with 
His Highness the Maharaja Duleep Sing re- 
established in his ancestral throne, what would 
have been the consequence during the period of 
the Mutiny? I cannot do better than answer the 
question in His Highness's own words. He did me 
the honour of calling upon me on his return from the 
Punjab in 1864, and in the course of conversation 
expressed himself " happy at finding the country well 
governed and the people prosperous and contented ; " 
but added that " he was most thankful he was not in 
the Punj ab during the time of the Mutiny ; for if he 
had been, he felt quite sure his people would have 
compelled him to take part against the British 
Government." Who can be a more competent judge 
of this than His Highness ? 

The efforts of Government in the promotion of 
education, the countenance accorded by Lady Canning 
to female seminaries, and the zeal displayed by 


missionary labour, have also been severely censured 
by the author of " The Sepoy War." These measures, 
it is stated, tended to lead the soldiery and the civil 
population to the belief that proselytism was the 
object of the British Government; that it excited 
their fears and contributed largely to the causes which 
brought about the " sepoy outbreak and rebellion." 
A quotation, however, in vol. iii. page 228 of " The 
Sepoy War," from a volume published by Mr. Charles 
Raikes, gives the above imputation a full and complete 
contradiction. Mr. Eaikes says that while " every 
Englishman was handling his sword or revolver, the 
road covered with carriages, people hastening right 
and left to the rendezvous ; while city folk were 
running as if for their lives, and screaming that the 
mutineers from Aligurh were crossing the bridge, and 
budmashes twisting their moustaches and putting on 
their worst looks ; while outside the college all was 
alarm, hurry, and confusion, within calmly sat the 
good missionary, with hundreds of young natives at 
his feet, hanging on the lips which taught them the 
simple lessons of the Bible. And so it was (it is 
stated) throughout the revolt, — the students at the 
Government, and still more the missionary schools, 
kept steadily to their classes ; and when others 
doubted or fled, they trusted implicitly to their 
teachers, and openly espoused the Christian cause."* 

* I think it necessary to quote also the following, to show how 
wild was the panic at the time, and that too at Agra, the seat of the 


The constancy of hundreds of native students 
who, under such peculiarly trying circumstances, con- 
tinued to attend the missionary and other schools, 
affords strong and unquestionable evidence, that 
neither the native soldiery, nor the population at 
large, were under any apprehension as to proselytising 
attempts on the part of the Government. If any such 
fear had existed, these schools would at once have 
disappeared at the very outburst of the Mutiny. The 
outcry on the subject, like the outcry against greased 
cartridges, was first raised by the more designing 
among the native military, and was taken up after- 
wards by others. Then followed the factitious and 
circumstantial story, that annexations and lapses and 
resumptions had caused widespread disaffection, and 
that the Nana, by means of emissaries, had been 
enabled to band together, with the object of effecting 
the eviction of the English from India, the princes and 
nobles of different races and religions, and that he and 
others with him, brought about the sepoy outbreak. 

Contemporary historians may not do Lord Dal- 
housie justice, nor those who preceded him in the 

Lieutenant-Governor of the province ! Mr. Paterson Saunders, writing 
to his brother, said: "The panic here exceeds anything I have ever 
-witnessed. Women, children, carts, gharries, buggies, flying from all 
parts into the fort, with loads of furniture, beds, bedding, baskets of 
fowls, &c. - The Europeans have all escaped from Aligurh. Lady 
Outram came in here, partly on horseback, partly on foot. One or two 
civilians here have behaved most shamefully. One of them went into 
his office, pale as his own liver, and told all the crannies to save their 
lives as they best may." 


work of emancipating the large masses of the people 
from oppression, outrage, rapine, and murder. They 
may not think that acts, the outrageous licentiousness 
of which placed the stigma of infamy upon human 
nature, should have been visited with punishment 
upon the perpetrators ; that, on the contrary, those 
who effected the extinction of profligate dynasties, 
of libertine courts, of worse than brutal territorial 
aristocracies, and of predatory armies, should have 
considered, not the condition of the rural populations, 
not the good which a sacred sense of duty dictated 
should be conferred upon them by British rule, but 
the resentment which such a policy was likely to 
arouse in the breasts of the influential classes of the 
community ! ! ! Had such been the views which 
governed the conduct of those by whom those great 
measures had been carried out, the connection of 
England with India would have proved a curse rather 
than a blessing. Happily, the statesmen and philan- 
thropists by whom the destinies of India were then 
governed were actuated by no interested or sordid 
motives. Influenced by a lofty spirit of humani- 
tarianism, they did what duty dictated. Their con- 
duct was a practical exemplification of the sublime 
maxim, fiat justitia ruat ccetum. They did justice 
though the heavens should have fallen. 



The East India Company, — which in the course of 
time had subjugated one of the greatest empires in 
the world, originally a small trading corporation, its 
first settlement in India, comprising a few square 
miles for which rent was paid to native princes ; its 
soldiers, armed with swords, shields, and bows and 
arrows, and scarcely numerous enough to man four or 
five badly constructed fortifications erected for the 
protection of their warehouses, — encountered, from a 
French trading corporation, which was established at 
no great distance from them, a dangerous rivalry, 
which bid fair to extinguish their commercial hopes, 
and threatened their expulsion from India ; but 
following the example of the French, the British 
factors enlisted natives of the country as soldiers, and 
trained them in the art and discipline of European 
warfare. They were thus enabled, not only to keep 
their own footing, but gradually, in the course of 
time, as opportunities offered, to assert their wonted 
national superiority in arms. And their indomitable 
courage and repeated success in the field, inspired 
the people of India with awe, and won for them the 
devotion and allegiance of their sepoy followers. 


It has been often stated that, under the pretext 
and with the ostensible motive of furthering the 
interests of a trading corporation, the British pursued 
an aggressive policy in India ; that they excited dis- 
sensions among native princes, and urged them on to 
war in order to their own advantage. The early 
history of the British connection with India, however, 
very clearly points to the fact that it was a struggle — 
at times a hard struggle — for very existence. It will 
be seen that while at Madras they were busied in 
taking stock, shipping cargoes, and making money 
advances in promotion of the objects of commerce, the 
French corporation at Pondicherry were constituting 
themselves into a military power. And taking ad- 
vantage of the war in Europe of the Austrian Suc- 
cession, the French governor of Mauritius led an 
expedition to the continent of India, and landing his 
troops in defiance of the opposition offered by the 
British fleet, appeared before Madras, and compelled 
the town and fort to capitulate. The French colours 
were hoisted on Fort St. George, and the principal 
English factors were marched off under a guard to 
Pondicherry, where, under the gaze of " fifty thousand 
spectators," they were paraded through the town in a 
triumphal procession. 

Whilst the French were thus rapidly rising to 
ascendancy in India, the fortunes of the English East 
India Company were at their very lowest. At this 
conjuncture, Mahomed Ali, the legitimate Nabob of 


tlie Carnatic, was besieged at Trichinopoly by a 
pretender who laid claim to the throne. The French 
supported the pretender's claim, the English espoused 
the cause of Mahomed Ali. Owing to the smallness 
of the force at Madras, it was not possible to relieve 
Trichinopoly. A diversion was therefore thought of, 
and under the command of the renowned Clive, a 
force consisting of 200 Europeans and 300 sepoys 
was despatched for the capture of Arcot, the capital 
of the Carnatic. The enterprise was perfectly suc- 
cessful ; but Clive was himself besieged, immediately 
after, by a force about ten thousand strong, a hundred 
and fifty of whom were French European soldiers. 
Clive 's forces were less than one -twentieth the 

Brilliant and valorous was the defence of the be- 
sieged. Every white man displayed a heroism that 
commanded the admiration of every beholder. The 
siege had lasted fifty days. The defences were main- 
tained with vigour and ability. The walls, however, 
were in a ruinous state ; the trenches were dry, the 
ramparts too narrow to admit the guns, the battle- 
ments too low to protect the soldiers, and the breaches 
becoming wider every day. The garrison was greatly 
lessened by casualties ; Clive's two hundred Europeans 
were reduced to one hundred and twenty, and the 
three hundred native soldiers to two hundred. Pre- 
parations, on the other hand, on a formidable scale, 
were being made by the enemy to capture the place 


on the occasion of the Mohoruni, a Mahomedan 
festival, during which there is great excitement and 
greater religious frenzy and fanaticism. To add to 
Olive's trials and difficulties, the garrison fell short of 
provisions. Then occurred that touching scene, that 
manifestation of devotion to the white on the part of 
the black soldier. The sepoys came to Clive in a 
body, and desired that all the grain should be given 
to the Europeans, and that they themselves would be 
satisfied with the gruel strained from the rice. It 
may well be said that history contains no more 
touching instance of military devotion, which an 
unmistakable consciousness of the white man's 
superiority could only have prompted, — a superiority 
which evidenced to the sepoy that on the white man's 
safety depended his own salvation. 

The last desperate effort of the enemy was then 
made to carry the place by storm, but it met with a 
resistance from the besieged, as crowning as the one 
which has embalmed the memory of " the handful " 
of Thermopylae, and from which both frenzy and 
fanaticism recoiled. It was expected that the attack 
would be renewed on the following day; but when 
the morning dawned, no enemy was found within 
sight. Afterwards, on the arrival of reinforcements 
from Madras, Clive assumed the offensive. 

The affair of the Calcutta Black Hole may be 
regarded as the most cruel and terrible incident 
chronicled in British India. One hundred and 
p 2 


twenty-three Englishmen, out of one hundred and 
fifty, perished miserably, because an oriental Nero 
who had retired to rest, was not to be awakened. But 
it is gratifying, even at this distance of time, to con- 
template the signal retribution that overtook the 
incarnate demon. On receipt of the intelligence at 
Madras, the bitterest feelings of resentment were 
aroused, and an expedition was immediately despatched 
to avenge the atrocity. The land forces, consisting of 
nine hundred British infantry and fifteen hundred 
sepoy soldiers, were under the command of Clive ; the 
naval squadron was commanded by Admiral Watson. 
Sooraj-oo Dowla, on the other hand, lost no time in 
marshalling his hosts to meet the British advance. 
After some successes obtained by Clive in the Hoogly 
and on land, Sooraj-oo Dowla wished to treat for 
peace, and made offers of restitution and indemnity. 
But during the course of the negotiations, it became 
evident that his motives were not sincere. It was at 
the same time known that he was intriguing with 
the French at Chandernagore, and had invited their 
general to march from the Deccan to the Hoogly to 
drive the English from Bengal. It then became 
necessary to commence operations against the French, 
which was done by land and water. The French 
were vanquished. Their fort, their garrison, in fact 
all belonging to them, fell into the hands of the 
English, and some five hundred European troops 
were among the prisoners. 


Shortly after, a conspiracy was set on foot in the 
capital to depose Sooraj-oo Dowla, and place Meer 
JafFer on the throne. Then occurred that unfortunate 
event which has left a stain on Clive's moral character, 
— the episode of the white and red paper treaties, and 
the counterfeiting of Admiral Watson's signature. 
After this Clive moved forward to encounter Sooraj-oo 
Dowla, and reached a spot within a few miles of his 
encampment. Here he expected that Meer JafFer, 
according to a previous understanding between them, 
would separate himself from Sooraj-oo Dowla, and join 
him with his division ; but as the crisis approached, 
the fears of Meer JafFer overcame his ambition. He 
returned evasive answers to Olive's urgent requests 
to march up and unite with him. It was a most 
anxious moment, when even the stout-hearted Clive, 
a stranger to every feeling of fear, might well have 
been perturbed at the prospect of the responsibility 
he was on the eve of incurring. It was by no means 
a light matter to find himself opposed by an army 
twenty times as numerous as his own, and abandoned 
by his powerful confederate who, for anything he was 
aware of to the contrary, might take part against him. 
Placed in circumstances so desperately critical, he 
hesitated to act without due deliberation, and called 
a council of war. The decision of that council was 
opposed to the adoption of any hostile measures. 
Clive acquiesced ; but was by no means satisfied. He 
soon after separated from his councillors and resolved 


to engage the enemy at all hazards. It is the brave 
only who may hope to conqner ; and Clive did con- 
quer. But every white man proved himself a hero ; 
and the black soldier, fighting by his side, was per- 
fectly conscious of the guardianship under which he 
fought. Without his white soldiers, with even ten 
times the number of only native soldiers, Clive would 
not have challenged the issue against such tremendous 
odds. Every native of India was as conscious of this 
as was Clive himself. Clive's European infantry num- 
bered a thousand ; his native infantry two thousand. 
The hosts opposed to them were no less than sixty 
thousand. But Clive gained a most complete victory; 
and Plassey is a name which the battle has rendered 

The King of Delhi at this time was a prisoner in 
the hands of a subject. His eldest son, Shah Allum, 
at the instigation of the King of Oude and other 
powerful princes, raised his standard, and was soon 
joined by an army of forty thousand, consisting of 
Rohillas, Jhats, Afghans, and Mharattas, some of the 
most hardy of the races in India; and with the object 
of overthrowing Meer JafFer, commenced hostilities 
by laying siege to Patna. Clive, with only four 
hundred and fifty Europeans and two thousand five 
hundred sepoys, was marching up to give battle ; but 
such was the terror which Clive and his white soldiers 
had established, that the sight of the advanced guard 
sufficed to scatter the hosts of Shah Allum. 


These splendid services rendered to Meer Jarrer, 
failed to secure his fidelity or excite his gratitude. 
He looked upon his powerful English allies with fear 
rather than with confidence ; for he argued that the 
power which had set him up might pull him down 
again. He accordingly intrigued with the Dutch at 
Chinsurah, and at their request the Dutch Govern- 
ment at Batavia, anxious to extend the influence of 
their country in India, equipped a powerful arma- 
ment which arrived unexpectedly in the Hoogly. 
The troops were landed, and attempted to force a 
passage ; but were encountered by the English by 
land and by water, and vanquished on both elements. 

It is not necessary for my purpose to state any 
further instances of battles or of victories which 
uniformly attended British warfare in India. Erom 
Arcot and Plassey to the latest engagements, the 
results were always the same. Everywhere greatly 
outnumbered, but everywhere triumphant. There 
have been occasions in which native soldiers alone 
have been employed to put down a petty insurrection 
or quell a trifling outbreak, but they were always 
led on by their European officers. In all important 
engagements the white soldiers, however small in 
number, were invariably a most powerful and indis- 
pensable element, which no numerical superiority of 
the enemy could withstand. 

Sir John Kaye states that our first sepoy levies 
were few in number when the English and French 


were striving^ for predominancy in the south, and at 
the outset were commonly held in reserve to support 
our European fighting-men ; but in course of time 
they proved themselves worthy of being entrusted 
with higher duties, and that they then went boldly 
to the front under native commandants who had been 
disciplined by the English captains. 

There can be no question as to the importance 
of the body of men held in reserve to act as supports 
to forces led into action ; nor can there be the least 
doubt that if Indian generals had at any time adopted 
the plan of holding " native troops in reserve to sup- 
port our European fighting-men," that the former 
must have had but little or nothing left them to do ; 
for had the Europeans been worsted, not even the 
bravery, the example, and the leading of the European 
officers would have sufficed to induce the men to come 
into action. I may take upon myself to state that 
sepoy courage had never been subjected to such a 
test. The plan, so far as I am aware, was always to 
intermix Europeans and natives in detachments, so 
that the native soldier might have ocular demon- 
stration of the bearing and bravery of the European, 
and do as he did. During the first Punjab war, it 
will be remembered that when one European and two 
native regiments were being led to the charge, the 
European regiment was unexpectedly brought to a 
momentary stand on account of a precipitous break 
in the ground, and were obliged to make a detour ; 


but observing them bait, the native regiments, though 
meeting with no impediment themselves, halted too, 
exclaiming, " Ghore log hut geya ! " — " The Europeans 
are holding back!" — and advanced only when the 
Europeans went on again. 

I have not met with any official or historical re- 
cord of the circumstance ; but the following general 
order, issued by the Commander-in-chief, on the 28th 
January, 1846, appears to me to refer to it : — 

" Justice to the 62nd Eegiment, and to the native 
regiments brigaded with that corps, demands the ex- 
position of the sentiments of the Commander-in-chief 
in connection with an erroneous impression with 
respect to the conduct of the brigade which had been 
produced by the publication, purely through an 
oversight, of a dispatch written exclusively for his 
Excellency's information." 

We have also the opinion of that maturely 
experienced and brave old warrior Sir C. J. Napier, 
stated in a letter to the Governor- General of India 
after the battle of Meeanee, that "the want of Euro- 
pean officers in the native regiments at one period 
endangered the success of the battle. Three times I 
saw them retreat, evidently because the officers had 
fallen, and when another appeared and rallied them, 
they at once followed him boldly." 

I cannot think any measure more dangerous, when 
the enemy was likely to offer any serious resistance, 
than taking sepoys into action unaccompanied by 


European soldiers. My own arrangement in Bom- 
bay during the Mutiny — in which the possibility 
of an encounter with the native military was at 
all times kept in view, was to lead on the native 
mounted police, followed by the European body. I 
had in this a double object. The greater part of the 
native mounted police being Purdesees, men from the 
north-west, it was quite possible that they might 
have been tainted with the mutinous spirit of their 
brethren in Bengal, and in case it became necessary 
to lead the police force against the sepoys, among 
whom there was a large number of their castemen, 
and the Europeans were brought to the front, the 
native police, left to follow, might have proved false ; 
whereas, in leading off with them, and the Euro- 
peans following in their rear, there was the very best 
chance of guarding against their treachery, if such 
was intended. 

Sir John Kaye states "how the sepoy fought in 
the defence of Arcot ; how they crossed bayonets, 
foot to foot, with the best Erench troops at Cuddalore, 
historians have delighted to tell." On all such occa- 
sions there were the Europeans who set them the 
example. " Large bodies of troops," Sir John Kaye 
says, " were sometimes despatched on hazardous 
enterprises under the independent command of a 
native leader ; and it was not thought an offence to the 
European soldier, to send him to fight under a black 
commandant. That black commandant," he adds, 


" was then a great man, in spite of his colour. He 
rode on horseback at the head of his men, and a 
mounted staff officer, a native adjutant, carried his 
commands to the soobedars of the respective com- 
panies ; and that a brave man or a skilful leader was 
honoured for his bravery or his skill as much under 
the folds of his turban as under a round hat." This 
is the only instance I have seen mentioned of Euro- 
pean soldiers being sent to fight under black com- 
mandants ; nor am I aware that black commandants 
ever rode on horseback at the head of their men with 
an adjutant to carry his commands to the soobedars 
of the respective companies during battle ; and I very 
much question if any one else ever heard of com- 
manding authority having been exercised by black 
commandants. From the earliest period of the 
formation of the native army, no native regiment 
was ever left without European officers in command, 
and this is very clearly evidenced by Williams's 
" Bengal Army.' 5 The youngest ensign was always 
far superior to the highest native officer in army rank, 
and the idea of European soldiers being commanded 
by native officers is utterly at variance with the 
general fitness of things. Indeed, it is ludicrously 
absurd when considered in relation with the tempera- 
ment and characteristic of the two races. 

There have been frequent opportunities of witness- 
ing the respect and deference paid to European 
sergeants by native officers of the highest rank. 


Many years ago, I was at the residence of the officer 
commanding the garrison of Cuddalore. It was 
Christmas Day. At nine o'clock, the hour for the 
delivery of the daily reports, the sergeant-major and 
the native officer of the day walked in, followed by 
all the native commissioned officers of the regiment, 
to pay their commanding officer their Christmas 
congratulations. At the major's request the native 
officers became seated; the sergeant-major, being only 
a warrant officer, remained standing. The major had 
occasion to leave the room for a few minutes, when, 
taking advantage of his absence, the native officers, 
with the soobedar major at their head, apologised 
to the sergeant-major for being seated while he stood; 
" but what could we do," they said, " the major 
ordered us to be seated." 

The official existence, however, of native com- 
mandants and their adjutants does not appear to have 
been a lengthened one. The first mention of them 
in Williams's "Bengal Army" is in 1773, when a 
commandant and an adjutant were tried by court- 
martial for cowardice in action with the "Suneeashee," 
or ascetic warriors, and blown away from guns ; and 
the next is, that the appointments were done away 
with in 1781. 

Sir John Kaye states : " The British sepoy had 
faced death without a fear, and encountered every 
kind of suffering and privation without a murmur." 
I again repeat that he did so, following the example 


of the European soldier. I have myself witnessed 
similar devotion in the discharge of duty. The 
Bombay powder works were on fire ; the flames had 
reached the roof of a large room filled with barrels 
of gunpowder and ingredients for the manufacture of 
powder. All I had to do was to call upon the native 
policemen present to follow me, and I was instantly 
followed by two European constables and some thirty 
policemen. The powder and other materials were 
removed from the room while the roof was burning 
over our heads. 

Sir John Kaye states further, that the sepoy had 
planted the colours of his regiment " on a spot 
which European valour and perseverance had failed to 
reach." This is Sir John's highest flight ! Instead 
of history, instead of an impartial narration of facts, 
we have here the emanation from a fancy that has 
been rendered fervid by sepoy enthusiasm. In no 
other manner is the statement that the sepoy planted 
the colours of his regiment on a spot which European 
valour and perseverance had failed to reach, to be 
accounted for ! It has no doubt surprised many an 
Anglo-Indian, as it has surprised me. 

Sir John Kaye had in view, probably, the incident 
which occurred at Bhurtpoor in 1805 when penning 
his eulogy on sepoy valour. What Grant Duff states 
on the subject is this : — Two European regiments, 
one of them the hitherto brave 76th, refused to follow 
their officers, and thus gave the 12th Eegiment of 


Bengal Sepoys an opportunity of immortalising them- 
selves. Following the gallant remains of the flank 
companies of the 22nd Regiment of Foot, the sepoys 
advanced with the greatest alacrity, planted their 
colours on the top of a bastion, and, it was supposed 
that an equal degree of ardour on the part of the 75th 
and 76th would have made them masters of the place. 
Next day the men of the regiments, when addressed 
by General Lake, were overpowered with shame and 
remorse; they volunteered to a man, and a fourth 
and last attempt was made, when the men, walking 
over the dead bodies of their companions which crowded 
the ditch and glacis, rushed with a desperate resolu- 
tion which would have overcome any practicable 
obstacle. On this as on the former occasions, none of 
the troops relaxed in their efforts ; and for two hours, 
until ordered to desist, they persevered at the breach 
or in climbing up a high bastion which adjoined it ; 
but as fast as the leaders got up, they were knocked 
down with logs of wood or speared by rows of pike- 
men who crowded the tops of the parapets. The 
besieged took every precaution, and used every effort 
of prudence and resolution. The damage done to 
the mud wall was generally repaired during the night. 
Their guns were drawn within the embrasures, to 
prevent their being dismounted, and during the 
assault, particularly in the last, pots filled with com- 
bustibles, burning cotton bales steeped in oil, with 
incessant discharge of grape from the cannons and 


a destructive fire of small arms were poured upon the 
British troops, whose casualties were very great; 
and in the four assaults, 3,203 men were killed and 
wounded, of whom were 103 European officers. The 
most affecting circumstance attending these failures, 
was the necessity of leaving many of the wounded 
behind, who were almost invariably put to death by 
a sally from the garrison." 

The discipline of a soldier consists of course in 
the observing of the strictest obedience to superior 
authority. When under orders he has no right to 
exercise his own judgment as to the practicability or 
the impracticability of what he is called upon to under- 
take. His duty is to set aside all thoughts of self, all 
promptings of reason, and to do just as he is bidden. 
If such are the requisite qualifications of a disciplined 
soldier, how heavy is the responsibility of the com- 
mander-in-chief, of ordering that only to be under- 
taken of which there is a reasonable probability of 
success ! When the ardour that impels a first assault 
is damped by a repulse, it generally needs some skill 
and good sense to prepare the way for a second attack. 
But the second, too, proved signally unsuccessful. 
All that was possible had been done. The most 
persevering efforts of European valour had proved 
abortive. The opposition to be overcome was in- 
surmountable, and smarting at the same time under 
the painful feelings of having had to abandon their 
wounded comrades to be cruelly butchered, led the 


men of the 75th and 76th, no donbt, in the first 
instance, to represent the difficulties ; but finding the 
Commander-in-chief unyielding, they refused to follow 
their officers. A third attempt was then made with- 
out them ; but the result was the same. And the 
fourth attempt, led on by them, in which the 
Europeans fought on with a " desperate resolution, 
walking over the dead bodies of their comrades," 
proved equally unavailing. And the sacrifice in 
killed and wounded of 3,203 men, of whom 103 were 
European officers, in the four assaults, shows that 
Lord Lake, the Commander-in-chief, was more bull- 
headed than discerning and tactical. If these men 
had persevered in their refusal to follow their officers, 
they would have been tried, and the court-martial, in 
all probability, would have given them but a short 
shrift to the cannon's mouth ; but it would have been, 
notwithstanding, a noble display of manliness in 
vindication of the moral rights of military life. With 
facts such as the above before him, especially that of 
the sepoys having been led by the gallant remains of 
the flank companies of the 22nd Eegiment of Foot, 
Sir John Kaye's disparagement of European " valour 
and perseverance " is neither just nor fair. 

Indian historians and poets have deplored, in 
mournful strains, the indomitable valour of the British 
in India. In fact they declare that the British con- 
joined " undaunted bravery " with " courage the most 
resolute," and "the most cautious prudence." While 


prosecuting my studies of the Indian languages, I 
found it was necessary to read considerably of the 
history of the country, and though I found much in 
it in praise of native valour, previous to the advent of 
the English, the most complete silence was maintained 
on this point in the subsequent periods to it. The 
successful repulsion of two thousand five hundred 
Mharatta horse, and eighteen hundred of the 
Peshwa's infantry, by a handful of European artillery, 
headed by Lieutenant Patteson, at Koregoan, im- 
mediately after the battle of Poona, was as vivid 
in the recollection of the inhabitants of Poona in 
1836 as if the occurrence had taken place only a few 
days previously. Nor had the charge at the village 
of Ashte upon Sir Lionel Smith and his handful 
of English dragoons, by four thousand horsemen of 
the " Hoozoor Paga," headed by Bapoo Saib Grokla, 
the Greneral-in- chief of the Peshwa's army, been 
forgotten. The remarkable circumstance about 
this charge is that though Bapoo Saib Grokla had 
commenced it with an overwhelming number of 
the household cavalry, only about thirty or forty 
remained with him and came into conflict with 
the dragoons. These and the general were of 
course cut up ; the rest had wheeled round and 
galloped back. Such was the dread entertained of 
European troops by native soldiers, and those the 
choicest of the Peshwa's forces. But what is still 
more remarkable in connection with this display of 


cowardice is, that the people did not view it as a 
disgrace to their manhood, but looked upon it as 
a matter of course, considering it impossible for 
natives of the country to cope with European 
warriors ! ! 

The fact of there being no mention in native his- 
tory of sepoy valour since the advent of the European 
in India, is in itself a most significant fact. The 
people, too, whenever the sepoys were spoken of, spoke 
of them as the shadow of the Europeans, following in 
their footsteps when they went forward, and falling 
back with them when they receded; and I have no 
hesitation in stating that the belief among natives 
throughout India is universal, that without the 
European, the native soldier is worthless. The sepoy 
may not have estimated himself so low ; but he un- 
questionably indulged in no inflated views of self- 
importance, and there would have been no mutiny in 
1857 if, in an unfortunate moment, in a paroxysm of 
explosive generosity, the belief had not been instilled 
into his mind that he was as brave and as good a 
soldier as the European. 

Sir John Kaye mentions an instance of combina- 
tion on the part of British officers, and resistance to 
the orders of Government for curtailing their double 
batta, which caused a serious reduction in their pay. 
In that case, it is said the European soldiers had 
got under arms, and were preparing to follow their 
officers; but "the unexpected appearance of a firm 


line of sepoys, with their bayonets fixed and arms 
loaded, threw them into some confusion, of which 
Captain Smith, the officer who was acting on behalf 
of the Government, took advantage, and warned them 
that if they did not retire peaceably into their barracks 
he would fire upon them." The soldiers, it will be 
seen, were following the example of their officers, and 
the officers themselves no doubt joined Captain Smith 
in dissuading and inducing the soldiers to remain. 
This was a happy termination of a somewhat unfortu- 
nate occurrence. If the soldiers had resisted and 
charged, it is possible that the sepoys, under the 
orders of Captain Smith, might have discharged their 
loaded firearms into them ; but at the very next 
moment they would all have wheeled round and fled. 
Of this there can be no doubt. I have had myself 
personal proof of their cowardice. In 1843 a drought 
was followed by a heavy advance in the price of 
grain, and more than three hundred sepoys, belonging 
to regiments stationed at Poona, entered the grain 
market in the city, armed with bludgeons and pro- 
vided with bags and baskets, to convey away plundered 
grain. Their appearance overawed the grain mer- 
chants, and the work of plunder was being proceeded 
with actively, when a report was brought to me of 
what was going on. I immediately hurried into the 
saddle, reached the market, and charged into the 
nearest crowd of them. Some half a dozen or more 
were knocked down ; but this was followed by a flight 
g 2 


so wild and reckless, that more were floored by run- 
ning against each other than I and my horse had 
succeeded in knocking over. Such was the result of 
the encounter of a single individual with a body of 
more than three hundred duly trained regimental 
sepoys. And such, too, was my estimation of sepoy 
gallantry, that on the receipt of intelligence in Bom- 
bay of the mutiny of the 27th Eegiment at Kolapoor, 
I called on Colonel, now Sir P. M. Melvill, who was 
at the time military secretary to Government, and 
urged the disarming of the native regiments in Bom- 
bay, some two thousand strong, deeming the sixty 
European mounted policemen then under my com- 
mand quite adequate to undertake the duty. Of 
this I had not the least doubt ; but the step was 
considered hazardous, and it was moreover thought 
that the time had not arrived for so extreme a 

That which was said to be the first sepoy mutiny 
in Bengal, in 1834, is rightly described by Sir John 
Kaye as " one of those childish ebullitions " which 
had for its object certain pecuniary advantages, and 
not the overthrow of British rule ; but the affair 
grew to such proportions, and assumed such a serious 
character, as to call for the extreme measure of blow- 
ing away from guns of twenty -four of the mutineers. 
The first mutiny in India, the purpose of which was 
the overthrow of British rule, was that which took 
place at Vellore; but in that case it was brought 


on from want of consideration for the caste preju- 
dices of the Mahomedan as well as the Hindoo. 
There is nothing connected with his person more 
sacred to the Mahomedan than his beard, which he 
regards as the emblem of manhood and veracity ; and 
the Hindoos are superstitiously attached to the dif- 
ferent marks placed daily on their forehead, and which 
are distinctive of their religions and social gradations. 
When, therefore, the beard was ordered to be cut and 
shaved to a regulation form, and the mark on the 
forehead to be discontinued when in uniform, it is 
by no means surprising that both Mahomedan and 
Hindoo, jumped to the conclusion that these were the 
introductory measures for bringing about an amalga- 
mation of all castes. And when those measures were 
followed by an order for the use of the round hat, and 
it became known that it was made of cowhide and 
pigskin, a contact with which, on religious grounds, 
both consider unclean and extremely desecrating, the 
point was at once reached which converted the 
loyalty and devotion for which the Madras sepoy was 
distinguished, into rancorous disaffection. This was 
no doubt taken advantage of by those who had ex- 
perienced the effects of British power, and those 
who dreaded the advances which that power was 
steadily making j and combinations were doubtless 
formed for bringing about its downfall. In those 
days of India's strength and of British weakness 
the conspiracy among the princes and nobles of 


India, there can be no question, was widespread and 
well organised ; but that peculiar Indian fatuity of 
watching the result of each outbreak as it took place, 
was the means of preventing a simultaneous up- 
rising. In Vellore, the presence of the sons of Tippo 
Sultan encouraged the mutineers to take the initiative ; 
but happily there was a Gillespie in the neighbourhood, 
and he had at hand a body of European dragoons, a 
regiment of native cavalry, and galloper guns. He was 
soon in the saddle. The native cavalry were, no 
doubt, very deeply implicated in the conspiracy for 
the overthrow of the English Government, but 
Gillespie gave them no time for deliberation, much 
less for consultation. The soldier's instinct, whether 
European or native, in obeying the word of command, 
is proverbial. The bugle sounded to saddle — to 
mount — to march — to trot — to canter. On they went. 
They reached Vellore. Two galloper guns had 
already shattered the gates. On they went again, 
and both European dragoon and native cavalryman 
at once received and obeyed the word of command 
to "charge." The carnage was great, and the work 
of retribution became complete. 

The Vellore mutiny, and the speedy retribution 
which overtook it, left their traces in the feelings of 
the European and the Asiatic. The unexpected 
character of the outbreak, and its sanguinary accom- 
paniments, had excited the hatred of the alien against 
the native, and the native mind was deeply imbued 


with fear and suspicion of the white man's deter- 
mination to do away with caste ; for the ahsurd 
red-tapeism in respect to the cut of the beard and the 
interdiction in the use of the caste marks, had been 
such as to cause the deepest alarm. The wonder is 
that there was not a more terrible outbreak on the 
part of the subsidiary force at Hydrabad, the capital 
of a reigning Mahomedan prince, where the sepoys 
were worried by commanding officers on the same 
account. But wise and judicious measures on the 
part of the Government and the authorities averted 
the evil there, as well as at Nundydroog and other 
places. This was followed by a quiet of some 
eighteen years. 

The war with the Burmese afterwards rendered 
it necessary to transport to the seat of war some 
Bengal regiments then at Barrackpoor, consisting 
of men of high caste and high social privileges. 
To be despatched by sea was contrary to their 
religion, and was not provided for in the terms 
of their engagement. They must go by land, but 
cattle for the conveyance of kit and necessaries were 
not to be had. After a great but unavailing effort, 
the authorities gave up the idea of providing them, 
and the fiat, thoughtless and unwise, went forth that 
the sepoys were to supply themselves. Before such 
an order was issued, the probabilities and consequences 
should have been clearly weighed and estimated ; but 
the order having been issued, it should have been 


upheld at all risk. The sepoys resisted the order : 
this might have been expected; but the resistance 
was unfortunately met by the offer of an advance of the 
money for the purchase of the cattle. One extorted 
concession is sure to beget other and more unreason- 
able demands. And hence it was that the want of 
firmness on the part of the Barrackpoor authorities 
ultimately led to the necessity of bringing the 
regiment under the fire of grape-shot. Those of the 
sepoys who could do so, threw down their arms and 
accoutrements, and took to flight. There was no 
attempt at resistance. Battle was not thought of, and 
their muskets were all unloaded. I have thought it 
necessary to enter into so much detail in this matter, 
to show that though Sir John Kaye speaks of it as 
the Barrackpoor mutiny, the object of it was by no 
means the overthrow of British rule, as was the case 
in 1857 ; and if better judgment had been exercised, 
the extreme and severe measure might have been 

With reference to the insubordination displayed at 
Arracan by the Bengal regiments, in 1825, Sir John 
Kaye states : — " The high caste men were writhing 
under an order which condemned the whole body of 
the soldiery to work as labourers in the construction 
of their barracks. The English soldier fell to with a 
will ; the Madras sepoy cheerfully followed the ex- 
ample. But the Bengal soldiers asked, if Brahmins 
and Bajpoots were to be treated like coolies ; and for 


a while there was an apprehension that it might 
become necessary to make another terrible example, 
after the Barrackpoor pattern. But this, it is said, 
was fortunately averted by General Morrison calling 
a parade, and addressing the miscreants ; that the 
speech, sensible and to the point, was translated by 
Captain Phillips ; and so admirable was his free ren- 
dering of it, and so perfect the manner in which he 
clothed it with familiar language, that every word 
carried a meaning, every sentence struck some chord 
of sympathy in the sepoy's breast ; and when he had 
done, the high caste Hindoostanees looked at each 
other, understood what they read in their comrades' 
faces, and forthwith stripped to their work." This 
was a remarkable achievement. There is nothing 
which the Hindoo law more strictly enjoins than that 
every man should, in the most exclusive manner, keep 
to his own profession, and exercise no other ; and the 
hereditary profession of the Bajpoot is soldiering. To 
do otherwise, their holy writ declares, is to commit 
" mahapatak " — sin of the highest degree, the penalty 
of which is to become an out- caste, and this involves 
the forfeiture of all privileges pertaining to caste 
membership and of the civil rights of Hindooism. 
The only way, therefore, in which the success that 
attended General Morrison's address and Captain 
Phillips' rendering of it is to be explained, is, that the 
impression on the minds of the sepoy regiments at 
Arracan was, that British might was too great to 


be withstood, and that it was expedient to obey its 
mandates even when opposed to the teaching of their 
own sacred writings. And happy would it have been 
for India, as regards the calamities of 1857, had this 
most salutary dread not been weakened. 

Up to this time, and for some years later, there 
was nothing to ruffle the serenity of the sepoy mind. 
His disposition and temperament were peculiar, but 
impressible ; and his belief in European superiority 
and power knew no limit. The potency of the white 
man, in fact, was an article of professional faith with 

When at Madras and Calcutta our factors first 
began enlisting native sepoys, they were only able to 
secure the services of the lowest classes, of pariahs 
who had no caste, who partook of animal food as 
freely as the European, and owing to which, when 
asked what caste they belonged to, they prided them- 
selves by saying that they belonged to master's caste. 
The victory of Arcot and other early conquests were 
achieved by us with the assistance of pariah soldiers. 
My father, who belonged to the Madras Foot Artillery, 
was present at the siege and capture of Seringapatam, 
and was wounded there. He often spoke of the pariah 
sepoys in terms of high commendation, but always 
qualifying his praise by saying that they only did well 
in company with Europeans. The higher classes of 
natives, seeing that these men were well treated — 
better, in fact, than they themselves would treat them ; 


that they were liberally and punctually paid, and 
that those who had become disabled in war were 
provided for, as were also the families of the men 
who had fallen in battle — began in the course of time 
to enlist too, and gradually to keep out the pariah 

In the Bengal provinces, which is especially under 
reference, the Bhramin, the Eajpoot, and the Ma- 
homedan, are far superior to any of the classes in the 
Madras and Bombay provinces as regards physical 
proportions and mental intelligence. The Bengal 
officers, taken by their fine appearance, aided the high 
caste men in bringing about the expulsion from the 
ranks of the pariah element, so that in the course of 
time the Bengal army consisted only of high caste 
men who, of course, became the pride of their 
European officers. The native gained largely in the 
estimation of the European ; but the European failed 
to bear in mind that, the high caste Bhramin, the 
Bajpoot, and the Mahomedan, held him in detestation 
because of what was his food and drink. 

In England and other European countries a lady 
or gentleman may indulge in the pastime of riding a 
donkey ; but in India felons only are sentenced to be 
mounted on donkeys, as being the most degrading and 
ignominious of punishments. The sight of a lady or 
gentleman on a donkey in India would excite the 
deepest feelings of contempt in the natives. And 
with feelings equally contemptuous the Bhramin, the 


Rajpoot, and the Mahomedan, view the beef-and-pork- 
eating and brandy-drinking European, and contem- 
plate their connection with him with disgust. Out- 
wardly they will show all possible respect ; but in 
thought and feeling they are by no means sparing of 
their hatred and condemnation. To a Bhramin or 
Eajpoot, death would be far preferable to the dese- 
crating touch of beef; and the touch of pork to a 
Mahomedan, is equally sacrilegious. 

As long, however, as promotion went by merit, as 
long as the advancement of the rank and file to the 
higher grades depended on the officers in command 
of companies, and the promotion to the commissioned 
ranks on the commandant of the regiment, so long 
the evil of high castes was kept in check ; but with 
the substitution for it of promotion by seniority, the 
tie that bound the sepoy to his European officers was 
snapped. They were his " Ma bap " — terms ex- 
pressive of their being everything to him ; but this 
event did away with the high official importance in 
which they were held. It reduced them in his 
estimation to the condition of nonentities. The 
active, the intelligent, the aspiring had no incentive 
left to work out their advancement ; they were placed 
on an equality with the worthless and the incom- 
petent. Thus a deadly blow was struck at military 
authority ; and the army, rendered independent of the 
European officers, was left at liberty to form com- 
binations of which, as the unfortunate circumstances 


in connection with the Mutiny subsequently ex- 
emplified, the officers were in perfect ignorance. 

Sir John Kaye states that there had been " great 
difference of opinion with respect to promotion ; that 
some declared that the Bengal army was destroyed 
by the seniority system, which gave to every sepoy 
in the service an equal chance of rising to the rank of 
commissioned officer ; that others maintained that it 
was the very sheet-anchor which enabled it to resist 
all adverse influences," which I suppose meant that it 
rendered the native army generally contented. But 
was it a wise policy to deprive the European officers 
of their influence over the native army, and so render 
the latter perfectly independent of them ? 

I have before me extracts of general orders, com- 
mencing from the battle of Hydrabad in Scinde to 
the conclusion of the war in the Punjab, and these 
may be considered as so many emphatic avowals, on 
the part of the Governor- General of India, that the 
sepoy is quite as good a soldier as the European. 

The following short extracts will show that I am 
by no means extravagant in my conclusions : — 

" The Governor-General's especial thanks are due 
to H.M. 39th and 40th Eegiments, to the 2nd and 
16th Eegiments of Native Grenadiers, and to the 
56th Eegiment N.I., which took with the bayonet 
the batteries in front of Maharajpoor." "ELM. 
40th Eegiment, and the 2nd and 16th Eegiments 
of Native Grenadiers, again serving together, again 


displayed the pre-eminent qualities as soldiers, and 
well supported the character of the ever victorious 
army of Candahar." 

" Everywhere, at Maharajpoor and Puniar, the 
British and the native troops emulated each other, and 
animated by the same spirit of military devotion, 
proved that an army so composed and united by the 
bonds of mutual esteem and confidence, must ever 
remain invincible in Asia. The Government of India 
will, as a mark of its grateful sense of their dis- 
tinguished merit, present to every general and other 
officer, and to every soldier engaged in the battles of 
Maharajpoor and Puniar, an Indian star of bronze, 
made out of the guns taken at these battles." 

" The Governor- General's thanks are due to the 
brave infantry of the native army, whose valour so 
mainly contributed to these victories (Punjab) and he 
cannot withhold his admiration of the patience and 
perseverance with which they endured privations in- 
separable from forced marches. H.M. 16th Lancers 
on this occasion have added to their former reputation, 
acquired in various fields of battle in Asia, by routing 
the enemy's cavalry in every direction, and by resolute 
charges under Captain Bere, Major Smith, and 
Captain Pearson, penetrating the enemy's squares of 
infantry ; in which charges the squadrons were gal- 
lantly supported by the 3rd Light Cavalry, under 
Major Angelo. In these exploits the native cavalry 
distinguished itself during the day, and the Governor- 


General is happy to bear his testimony to the fact, 
that since the army of the Sutledge commenced its 
operations on the 1 8th of December, the native cavalry 
has on every occasion proved its prowess, whether in the 
general actions that have been fought, or in the various 
skirmishes at the outposts!' 

These general orders, published, read, and inter- 
preted to every native soldier in the Indian army, with 
all the blandiloquent flattery peculiar to native diction, 
undoubtedly inspired them with very highly inflated 
views of their own valour and importance, and these, 
conjoined with the contempt for their European 
officers which was engendered by the concession to 
them of promotion by seniority, and the still deeper 
contempt inspired by habits in the European which 
are held as detestable by the Bhramin, the Rajpoot, 
and the Mahomedan, — the elements of which the 
Bengal army consisted — tended completely to under- 
mine sepoy allegiance and devotion. And, then, 
what was it that naturally followed ? The weighing, 
of course, of probabilities as to their competency to 
possess themselves of the dominion of India, and to 
govern the country for themselves. What were the 
grounds that afforded them hope ? The belief that 
they were trained in the arts of European warfare, 
and rendered quite equal in that respect to the 
European. That fact, they must naturally have 
thought, is admitted by the highest European 
authority in the land — the great Governor- General 


of India. " He tells us so, and has proclaimed it to 
the world ; and we know it to be the case. And 
then, the Europeans are merely a handful — we an 
overwhelming body ; and all we have to do is to kick 
them out of the country and possess it for ourselves." 
These are the circumstances that brought about the 
Mutiny. It was a military outbreak, not an insurrec- 
tion worked out by means of a <c widespread con- 
spiracy." And the Government order, issued in July, 
1856, for general service enlistment, and the report 
that it was the intention of the Government to enlist 
30,000 more Sikhs, brought matters to a culmination. 
With the exception of only six regiments, the Bengal 
army was exempt from serving abroad, because of their 
unconquerable aversion, on religious grounds, to cross 
the sea. The change intended might not affect those 
who had already enlisted ; but they saw, if the British 
Government retained its power, that it would prove a 
bar to their sons taking to the honourable profession 
of arms. 

The more daring men in the army, and those 
capable of taking the lead, then commenced the work 
of spreading disaffection; the leaven had spread 
throughout the native regiments, whilst at Barrack- 
poor, in the 34th Begiment, the agitation arose in 
respect to the greased cartridges and the bone-dust. 
Under ordinary circumstances the word of his officers 
would not, for a single moment, have been doubted 
by the sepoy. The utterances of the saibs must be the 


truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, teas his 
firm and inalienable belief ; and I appeal to every 
Anglo-Indian if such was not the case. But the 
men of the Bengal army, instigated by the designing 
amongst them, had now quite made up their minds to 
doubt everything that was told them. It would not 
have answered their purpose to do otherwise. Hence 
the assurances of the Government, of the Commander- 
in-chief in his clear and most sensible address, and of 
General Hearsey, in respect to the greased cartridges 
and the bone-dust delusion, produced not the least 
effect. Could anything have exceeded the monstrous 
absurdity that corn-dealers, themselves high caste 
men, could have laid themselves open as to be induced 
by us to sell bone-dust to the sepoys or to any one 
else ? And the dogged persistence of the jemedar, — 
who was a Bhramin, of the Oude artillery, mentioned by 
Sir Henry Lawrence in his letter to Lord Canning 
on the day previous to the outbreak at Meerut, — in 
stating that he believed that for ten years the Govern- 
ment had been engaged in measures for the fraudulent 
conversion of the natives, and that he considered 
them quite capable of the bone-dust " dodge," shows 
the ineffable pitch of bold impudence reached by the 
Bengal army. And the conduct of the non-com- 
missioned officer of the 26th Regiment, who visited 
the rifle depot andwas publicly taunted by a soobedar 
with having become a Christian, and who cried like a 
child when reporting the circumstance to Lieutenant 



Martineau, that he was an outcast, and that the men 
of his regiment had refused to eat with him, shows 
the extent to which the ignorant had heen imposed 
upon by the daring and the disaffected. 

The fallacy of Sir John Kaye's statement that the 
outbreak was caused by " a widespread conspiracy," 
I have touched upon in the first chapter. Absurd as 
was the deposition of the " Nana's emissary," .who 
had been detained and examined at Mysore, it was 
surpassed in absurdity by the statement that dele- 
gates had gone about the sepoy lines " saying that 
the great King of Delhi had sent a confidential agent 
to give a month's pay to every native officer and soldier 
in the regiments, in order that if any outbreak should 
occur in their part of the country, they should not 
lift a hand in support of the Government." The 
one month's pay and the alleged communication are 
much too absurd to deserve any comment. The 
jemedar to whom this offer was said to have been 
made, reported it to his commanding officer and 
produced the money paid to him. The amount is 
not stated; large sums were said to be forthcoming. 
What was paid may have been fifteen rupees, or 
perhaps twenty, which, if the jemedar 's object was 
to either ingratiate himself with the commandant, 
or to prevent any suspicions of disloyalty from at- 
taching to the regiment, it would have been worth 
his while to pay from his own pocket. The wildest 
stories were then set afloat. It is said that "it is 


certain a scroll was found, described by a witness as 
being many cubits long, to which, the names of some 
hundreds of respectable inhabitants of Patna, Hin- 
doos and Mahomedans, were attached, and that the 
scroll contained a solemn declaration, binding them 
to die in defence of their religion." The civil magis- 
trate, however, made the attempt to track down the 
instigators ; but it all ended in smoke. " A native 
officer and a moonshee who traitorously took the 
corrupting coins were found implicated in the plot," 
on the evidence, no doubt, of the jemedar and his 
coadjutors, and were sentenced to death ; but it was 
not followed by execution. 

With regard to the King of Oude, it is stated 
that his followers "had endeavoured to corrupt the 
sepoys in the fort — especially the sentries posted at 
its gates ; that Colonel Cavenagh, the town major, 
had received repeated warnings from Mahomedan 
friends that mischief was brewing ; that Mussulman 
sepoys were frequently visiting the king's people at 
Garden Eeach, and that some influential visitors from 
Oude, including the great talookdar, Maun Sing, had 
visited Calcutta, and held conferences with the king 
or his ministers." But the only item in the alle- 
gation admitting of proof and verification — the visit 
of the great talookdar — is contradicted in a foot-note 
on the same page. Instead of being closeted with 
the king, the talookdar was at the time under sur- 
veillance at Fyzabad ! 
h 2 


In times of public excitement one can never be 
too cautious in accepting and crediting every rumour 
and flying report. In Bombay there was no lack of 
persons ready and willing to reveal plots and combi- 
nations. Lord Elphinstone himself, through the 
medium of European gentlemen, was stocked with 
all kinds of information, the particulars of which his 
lordship communicated to me. Mr. Jugonnath 
Sunkersett, a most respectable and wealthy native 
gentleman, had a reception-house in the garden at- 
tached to his mansion, intended for the accommo- 
dation of itinerant Bhramin mendicants who, during 
the day, begged their bread in the town. Imme- 
diately after the outbreak of the Mutiny, I placed 
an intelligent up-country Bhramin on detective duty 
at the reception-house, disguised as an itinerant men- 
dicant, and who joined the other inmates in begging 
during the day ; this reception-house was made to 
contribute its share to the prevailing excitement, 
and European gentlemen conveyed to Lord Elphin- 
stone the stirring information that Jugonnath Sun- 
kersett, Meer Jaffer Alii, the titular Nabob of Surat, 
and three other native gentlemen, were in communi- 
cation and in conspiracy with the Nana Saib. This 
information was so frequently repeated, that his lord- 
ship thought it necessary to send for me a second 
time, and tell me what had been brought to his 
notice. I repeated my previous assurances, and 
adding that I should be happy to subject my 


own arrangements to any test that the informants 
might suggest, begged of his lordship to -ask the 
European gentlemen to send them to me. They 
came, and I received them with a hearty welcome. 
If I had been possessed of the faculty of ready 
belief, the conviction produced would have been 
that Jugonnath Sunkersett, Meer Jaffer Alii, Kassim 
Natha, Dhurmsee Poonjabhoy, and Bhow Dajee, 
were deeply dyed traitors. I left these informants 
under the impression that I believed they had it 
in their power to bring about a momentous reve- 
lation, and expressed myself ready to take action in 
the matter whenever they wished I should do so. 
" But," I added, " my friends, listen to what I have 
to say. I shall take nothing at second hand. You 
must know I never do. You know, too, that I can 
speak your language as well as yourselves ; that I 
can so disguise myself as to render discover}^ impos- 
sible." I at the same time called to their recollection 
the fact of my having, previous to being gazetted in 
command of the police, bribed European constables 
and native policemen through the medium of their 
own go-betweens, in order to test the extent to 
which the reputed corruption of the Bombay police 
was well founded ; and of my having dined with one 
of these go-betweens, a high caste Hindoo, on his 
pressing invitation, without being discovered. And 
I added that I should be at a moment's notice pre- 
pared to join them, and that I wished a beginning 


as speedily as possible. They left, promising to call 
again ; but they never came. The result was re- 
ported to Lord Elphinstone, and I heard nothing 
more on the subject of volunteer information. I 
afterwards learnt that the European gentlemen were 
desired by these men to go to his lordship in prefer- 
ence to coming to me, as that course, they thought, 
would be the more effective. 

There is no evidence to show that the Mutiny was 
the result of any " conspiracy." There had been 
executions for alleged tampering with sepoy fidelity : 
but these cases rested only on sepoy evidence, and 
the sepoys, as I have already noticed, w r ere anxious to 
divert suspicion from themselves and their regiments. 
Take for instance the case of the Bhramin at Alighur. 
He was said to have tampered with two sepoys, who 
reported the circumstance to their commanding officer. 
He was tried by a native court-martial, and sentenced 
to death. The execution had no sooner taken place, 
than a Bhramin sepoy stepped forward and exclaimed, 
" Behold a martyr to our faith ! " and the regiment 
immediately broke out into mutiny, and the officers and 
Lady Outram had to fly for their lives. Had the 
regiment not been thoroughly disaffected and ripe for 
mutiny, the Bhramin sepoy would have been seized 
and dealt with by the regiment as a madman. 

The outbreak of each regiment, as it took place, 
exhibited the spirit of mutiny full blown and clearly 
developed. Mungul Panday, of the 34th, at 


Barrackpoor, aware of the determination formed by 
the native army to exterminate the Europeans, and 
hearing of the landing of a part of the 53rd Foot, 
took the alarm, and arming himself, called upon his 
fellow sepoys to follow his example. The sergeant- 
major, who then appeared upon the scene, was fired at, 
but was missed. The adjutant then galloped up, was 
also fired at, and also missed ; but his horse being 
wounded, was brought to the ground. Extricating 
himself, the adjutant and sergeant-major closed with 
Mungul Panday ; but finding him too much for them, 
they beat a by no means creditable retreat. All this 
took place in front of the quarter-guard, consisting 
of a jemedar and twenty men, and in the presence 
too of most of the regiment ; but not a man stirred 
to assist the adjutant and sergeant-major. Mungul 
Panday, still master of the situation, paced up and 
down and called upon his comrades in a vehement and 
excited manner to follow his example ; but as they did 
not think the time suitable, he " reviled them as 
coivards, who had first incited and then deserted him," 
and he then shot himself with his own musket. 

When the 19th were on their march from Ber- 
hampoor to be disbanded, the 34th, stationed at 
Barrackpoor, sent emissaries to them to say that 
they would cast in their lot with them, if they would 
resist and mutiny. 

Native officers of the regiments stationed at 
Bareilly, informed the acting brigadier, that they 


believed the prisoners in the gaol were beaten and 
kept without food for five days ; and presumed to 
add, that they must go and see them ! 

On the following day a general parade was held. 
The brigadier harangued the troops, spoke of the 
uneasy feeling that had recently pervaded all ranks ; 
of the discontent too plainly manifested by their 
demeanour — the result, he said, of erroneous appre- 
hensions ; but if they would resume the cheerful 
performance of their duty, the past would be forgiven, 
and the good old relations of mutual confidence 
thoroughly restored. Commissioner Alexander, too, 
addressed the native officers. He told them that 
they had been led away by a great delusion ; that the 
intentions of Government towards them were what 
they had ever been, and he besought them to dismiss 
from their minds all feelings of distrust and alarm. 
After this the brigadier reported to the Government 
that the troops were in a more happy and cheerful 
state, and in their own words, " had commenced a new 
life." He asked for a formal assurance from the 
Lieutenant-Governor, that the promises made to the 
troops would be confirmed, adding, " Were the men 
under my command fully convinced that the past 
would be forgotten, I feel convinced that their loyalty 
and good conduct may be relied upon." The Lieu- 
tenant-Governor lost no time in sending the required 
assurances. The brigadier was authorised to inform 
the troops " that nothing that had happened since the 


commencement of the recent agitation had at all 
shaken the solid confidence of the Lieutenant-Governor 
in their fidelity and good conduct." This was written 
on the 30 th of May. Before the letter could reach 
Bareilly, the whole of the native troops there had 
revolted, "and there was not a living European in the 

From these and very many other instances re- 
corded by the author of " The Sepoy War," nothing 
can be clearer than that within the native army 
itself, sprang the germs which ripened into mutiny. 
This is evident not only from the pages of " The 
Sepoy War/' but it is evident from every line in 
General Jacobs' book in relation to the mutiny of the 
27th Begiment at Kolapoor; it is evident also from 
the intercepted letter from the regiments at Belgaum, 
and from the conduct, as will be seen, of the regiments 
that were stationed in Bombay. 

Had it been possible to have polled India during 
the time of the Mutiny, of the three hundred millions 
of the general population, there would have been but 
a very insignificant minority in favour of government 
by their own countrymen. Strong in this conviction, 
when the disasters at Meerut and Delhi were men- 
tioned to me by Lord Elphinstone, and I was in- 
structed to be most careful and vigilant, and told that 
it was of the utmost importance that Bombay should 
be kept quiet, I concluded that it was purely a military 
outbreak, and submitted the absolute necessity of the 


sepoys being carefully looked after, which duty, also, 
the Governor desired me to undertake. 

On the following day I received a letter from the 
Private Secretary (now Major- General Bates), telling 
me that it was the Governor's wish I should call upon 
Brigadier-General Shortt, and after doing so, to call 
upon his lordship. I called on the brigadier. He 
wished to know if I had spoken to and interested the 
respectable members of the Mahomedan community in 
the preservation of order, which he said he had 
suggested to the Governor, that it was the Governor's 
wish it should be done, and that he and his lordship 
considered it a measure of vital importance. I was 
sorry it was so viewed by them. I was born in the 
country, and had lived among natives all my life. I 
presumed I knew more of their character and pecu- 
liarities than any European in the country. The 
Kazee and a few other Mahomedans of property and 
wealth, who had nothing to gain and much to lose in 
the event of a disturbance, would gladly, if they 
could, have aided me in the maintenance of order ; 
but the knowledge of my having spoken to them, and 
the communications they would make to their co- 
religionists, would, within four-and-twenty hours, 
have created an impression throughout Bombay, that 
the Government and the police were in fear of the 
Mahomedans. Such a result would have been pro- 
ductive of the worst consequences. Mahomedans, 
moreover, are fanatics in matters of government as 


well as religion ; they would naturally have asked, 
What had they done to create apprehension ? Why 
this stir ? And they would say, Surely our God has 
put fear into the minds of the infdels. Why has He done 
so ? In order that we might take advantage of it. Yes ; 
we see in it an indication of His will. Such would 
have been the conclusions they would come to. If 
they even had not the desire to be troublesome, it 
would have been suggesting to them ; and the com- 
munication I was desired to make would have been 
productive of results the very opposite of what was 
anticipated, and I declined to make it. The brigadier 
then wished to know what I intended doing to keep 
Bombay quiet. I said I should remain watchful, and 
do all I could to prevent mischief: that if, notwith- 
standing, there should be an attempt at outbreak on 
the part of the people, the first man who committed 
himself should be shot or cut down. The brigadier 
here remarked, " What would Sir William Yardley * 
say to this ? " My answer was, that the mutiny was 
an exceptional occurrence, and that exceptional mea- 
sures to meet it would be justifiable ; that I hoped 
also that if there was a rise in the town, the report 
which conveyed the intelligence of the rise would also 
convey that of its suppression. I felt no want of con- 
fidence in being able, with the police, to cope with 
any exigency among the inhabitants ; but I stated to 
the brigadier my apprehensions in respect to the 

* Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 


native military ; that I had already a spy among 
them, and expected, in the event of there being any- 
thing in agitation within their lines, to obtain timely 
intelligence of it. This annoyed the brigadier, who 
remarked that his own officers were quite equal, to 
every emergency in that way. This I did not, of 
course, gainsay. 

After this interview I proceeded to see the 
Governor. I felt apprehensive that his lordship 
might suppose I was presuming to set up my own 
opinion in opposition to his. Being ushered into his 
presence, I was asked if I had seen the brigadier. 
I answered in the affirmative, and stated the grounds 
upon which I considered the brigadier's suggestion 
impolitic. After listening to me, the Governor 
thought for a few moments, and then expressed 
himself satisfied that I was " perfectly right." 

When the disasters at Cawnpoor and other places 
became known, which evinced that no dependence 
could be placed in any sepoy regiment ; and having 
at the same time a Mahomedan population in Bombay 
of more than one hundred and fifty thousand, and 
that, in the event of a mutiny, some ten or fifteen 
thousand among the people would have to be kept 
in check, in which case it would have been folly to 
trust implicitly to the fidelity of the native police, 
I applied to Lord Elphinstone to be allowed to in- 
corporate into the police a body of fifty mounted 
Europeans, which was immediately sanctioned. 


A few days previous to the Mohorum, Mr. Craw- 
ford received a letter from the Government, in which 
we were requested, in concert with Brigadier Shortt, 
to determine upon the several positions for defence 
in the event of a disturbance or attack, on the occasion 
of that festival ; and from it I was sorry to find that 
Government seemed to be quite under the impression 
that the townspeople were the only parties to be 
looked after. Of the loyalty of the sepoys they 
seemed to entertain no doubt. I saw the danger of 
this view. At this time my own detectives even had 
not been able to discover that treason was active 
within the sepoy lines ; but I was not satisfied that 
all was right. From conversations that I had pre- 
viously had with the brigadier, I was aware that his 
impressions were very strongly in favour of sepoy 
fidelity ; and I foresaw that he would fall in with the 
view taken by Government. I therefore called upon 
Mr. Crawford, and repeated to him — what I had often 
previously stated — " that the sepoys were our only source 
of danger ;" that so long as they remained quiet there 
was not a man in the town who would dare raise his 
finger ; that he and I should therefore hold together, 
and, in the event of the brigadier being disposed to 
view the danger in the light in which it was placed 
in the Government letter, we should try and carry 
out our own arrangements. Mr. Crawford, however, 
expressed himself resolved to make no suggestion, to 
incur no responsibility, and stated, that so far as he 


was concerned, he had " placed everything " in the 
hands of the brigadier, whose letter to Government 
on the snbject placed it beyond donbt. Hence, when 
called to attend the brigadier's office on the following 
da}f, I found the arrangements he intended to cany 
out already written down. They were essentially 
those suggested by Government; and under those 
arrangements there would not have been, and actually 
was not, a single European soldier under the briga- 
dier's command to oppose an outbreak among the 
sepoys at the point where the outbreak would have 
commenced. I therefore urged that, though I had 
no reason to think there was any indication of un- 
soundness in the sepoys in Bombay, we should not 
lose sight of the conduct of the regiments in the 
north-west, and within our own presidency at Kola- 
poor, who, to the last moment, commanded the 
confidence of their European officers, and that we 
should not allow ourselves to be blinded as to the 
possibility of an outbreak in Bombay. I suggested 
that, on the last night and day of the Mohorum, 
all our European infantry, and four or six guns, 
with men sufficient to man them, should be stationed 
on the esplanade, adjoining the cross road opposite 
the Jooma Musjeed (spot marked A in annexed 
plan), by which the sepoy lines would be placed under 
the immediate range of the guns, and the European 
soldiers would be at hand to check any attempt at 
mutiny on the part of the sepoys. It will be seen 


from the plan that this measure possessed also the 
very important advantage of nearness — in the event 
of an outbreak among the townspeople, which, how- 
ever, I always deemed improbable in the extreme, and 
I said so repeatedly — to the localities (points B B in 
the map) where such outbreak would have taken 
place. The moral effect, too, of such an arrange- 
ment, both on the sepoys and the Mahomedans, 
would have been incalculable. These suggestions, 
however, were not attended to. I was told that the 
guns on the ramparts were double-shotted, and that 
they covered the sepoy lines. This led to my re- 
marking that he (the brigadier) was aware that 
only a street, twenty-five feet in width, separated 
the sepoy lines from the native town ; that every 
sepoy had possession of his musket and ammunition, 
and that if they shouldered arms and walked into the 
native town, the shots from the guns would prove 
unavailing, since they could only be directed against 
empty sheds and bare walls ; that the moment the 
sepoys found themselves within the native town, 
they would, if unopposed, spread in every direction, 
and, joined by the scoundrels among the inhabitants, 
engage in pillage and devastation, which the shots 
from the ramparts would not check ; that the body 
of Europeans stationed in the fort could not be 
brought to the scene in time, and when brought, 
they could not be divided into small bodies to follow 
the sepoys, as such a measure would be opposed 


to military tactics, and practically dangerous. My 
suggestions, however, were unheeded. 

I objected, too, to the arrangement of separating 
from the small body of about 400 European infantry 
we then had in Bombay, 200 men in parties of 100, 
and posting them, with that number of sepoys, at 
the spots marked C C on the map, as, in the event 
of an outbreak, which would have taken place about 
midnight, the greater part of the Europeans would 
be asleep, and fall an easy prey to the sepoys. One 
hundred of the latter would not dare to attack one- 
fourth that number of Europeans openly ; but in 
the event of an outbreak (which subsequent revela- 
tions proved we had very narrowly escaped on the 
last night of the Mohorum), nothing would have 
prevented the sepoys from quietly loading their 
guns and taking a cowardly advantage of the un- 
guarded moments of the Europeans, and firing into 
them. This would have brought down three-fourths 
of the Europeans, and the rest, panic-stricken, would 
probably have been bayoneted in detail. The 
instance related in Sir William Harris's travels in 
Abyssinia I pleaded in proof of the likelihood of 
European soldiers in Bombay becoming panic-stricken 
under a sudden and unexpected attack, since European 
soldiers, travelling under a perfect consciousness of 
danger in Abyssinia, were not exempt from it; and 
Sir William Harris, I said, had been heard to say 
that, but for the presence of mind he displayed, 


and the instincts of military habit in the soldier, 
the attack in question would have proved imminently 
perilous. Not even this, nor anything I could urge 
in deprecation of dividing troops into small detach- 
ments, proved of any avail. One point, however, 
I strenuously maintained, and was determined to 
carry, and that was, that the Government suggestion 
to station detachments of native troops in the town 
on the last night and day of the Mohorum should not 
be attended to ; and this only was conceded by the 
brigadier and the senior magistrate. 

As a last resource I penned the following protest, 
and placed it in the hands of the Private Secretary, for 
the information of the Governor : — 

" I beg that I may not be deemed presumptuous 
in taking the liberty to observe, that from the tenor 
of the Government letter, lately addressed to Mr. 
Crawford, the apprehension of an outbreak would 
seem to be entertained entirely with reference to the 
townspeople. There has not been yet — widespread 
as the revolts in the north-west and elsewhere have 
been — a single instance in which the populace of a 
town or other place have taken the initiative in rising 
against their rulers. In every case the example was 
set them by the military. 

" Up to the present moment I am strong in hope 

that the native regiments in Bombay are staunch ; 

but from what has taken place at Dinapoor, and 

within our own limits at Kolapoor, I am humbly of 



opinion that, in onr precautionary arrangements for 
the preservation of peace during the ensuing 
Mohorum, it would be wise to direct some portion 
of our attention to the sepoy regiments. 

" The loyal conduct, when the Mutiny first broke 
out, of one of the regiments at Dinapoor, in marching 
out and fighting and routing a large body of 
mutineers, is matter of record ; and, as regards the 
regiment at Kolapoor, it was only a couple of days 
previously that an officer belonging to it wrote to 
a friend in Bombay that it was staunch to a man. 
In both instances, the rise was, notwithstanding, 
most sudden, and certainly most unaccountable, as 
regards the very slender hope there could have 
existed of such an attempt being made with impunity. 

" In the north-west, the revolt is supposed to have 
been owing to the Bhramins and Mussulmans, of 
whom the regiments in that province were almost 
entirely composed. The Bombay army was supposed 
to be free from danger from the preponderance in 
it of other classes, especially the Kokunnee Mharattas. 
Singularly, this very class formed the majority of 
those who have rebelled at Kolapoor. 

" Under these circumstances, I hope that I may 
be pardoned in pointing to the native regiments in 
Bombay as a possible element of danger, especially 
when reports are in circulation in the bazaars that 
Cawnpoor has been recaptured by the rebels, and that 
General Havelock and his forces have been cut up. 


" I beg again to add that up to the present time 
I have no reason to think the native regiments in 
Bombay to be otherwise than staunch ; but passing 
events point to the necessity of adopting all possible 
precaution ; and hence I very humbly but strenu- 
ously deprecate the mixing together of European and 
native soldiers during the Mohorum at any point 
where the stationing of troops may be deemed 

" I have no reason for supposing that the native 
soldiery would take advantage of the unguarded 
moments of the Europeans, and commence the work 
of destruction upon them ; but, at the same time, we 
have no grounds for resting any positive assurance 
that they would not do so. For this reason I would 
deprecate their being stationed together, and pray 
also that the native soldiers be kept out of the town 
on the last night and day of the Mohorum. 

" The Mohorum, if I am not mistaken, is viewed 
as a festival peculiarly Mahomedan. The Hindoo 
votaries of the false prophet on the occasion, I have 
no hesitation in stating, form a larger proportion 
than the Mahomedan classes, and after hearing the 
Fatia repeated, and being invested with the fakeer's 
thread, a Hindoo becomes in feeling, under the 
excitement of the festival, as much a Mussulman 
as any follower of Mahomed, and is quite as much 
carried away by the belief that he is bound to do 
honour to the prophet, and would as freely join 
i 2 


in any excess, led on by the cry of Been, as any 
Mahomedan. It is notorious that most Hindoo 
sepoys become fakeers during the Mohorum." 

With the above document I submitted also the 
following, containing the suggestions I made to the 
brigadier : — 

"The arrangements which I would very respect- 
fully beg to submit for consideration are — 

" That of the European troops in Bombay, the 
whole of the infantry, and of artillery as many as 
may be required to man four or six guns, with that 
number of guns, be posted at the spot marked A 
on the accompanying map of Bombay, where they 
can be accommodated in tents. 

" That the order issued to this body of troops be, 
that they hold themselves in readiness, with guns 
loaded, to move into the town at a moment's notice, 
to quell any disturbance that may take place. 

" That the native regiments be paid the compliment 
of being ordered to hold themselves in readiness." 
(This I suggested, as the brigadier said he was 
" decidedly averse to any slur being put upon the 

" Thus the European troops would be present, 
ostensibly for the purpose of marching into the town, 
while in reality they would be there as a check 
upon the sepoys ; this, of course, need not be made 

" The parts of the town densely populated by 


Mahomedans are those marked B B on the map ; 
and in the event of any outbreak, of which the 
probability is indeed most remote, it will be more 
convenient for the European troops to reach those 
spots from the ground marked A, than it would be 
from either of the places marked C C selected by the 
brigadier, under the suggestion of Government, for 
stationing two guns and 100 Europeans and 100 
native soldiers at each. 

" The above points, as well as the remaining ones, 
can be most effectually guarded by fifty European 
sailors at each point." 

The above particulars were stated in a letter to 
Mr. P. W. Le Geyt, who was then at Calcutta as 
Legislative Member of the Council of the Governor- 
General, with the object of ascertaining the opinion 
of General Sir James Outram on the merits of the 
plan proposed by me and that carried out by the 
brigadier. Mr. Le Geyt's answer forms the Appendix 
C. Before despatching my letter to Mr. Le Geyt, 
however, I thought I should send it for perusal to 
Major-General Bates, who was then private secretary 
to Lord Elphinstone. The following was the 
reply :— 

" My Dear Mr. Forjett, 

" As the letter you have sent for my perusal is a private 
one to Mr. Le Geyt, you can of course state in it your own 
view of what occurred in Bombay during the Bukree Eed 
and Mohurrum. In returning it, however, I think I ought 
to tell you that I believe that Brigadier Shortt was quite 


right in posting the detachment of Europeans, etc., at the 
point marked C in your plan. 

In the arrangement proposed by yourself, although at that 
time you said you had no reason whatever to doubt the loyalty 
of the sepoys, your precautions seem to have been chiefly directed 
against the sepoys, not apparently giving equal consideration to 
the possibility of an outbreak amongst 150,000 Mahomedans at a 
festival when, notoriously, they become much excited and violent. 
In ordinary times, even, the presence of Europeans has always 
been considered necessary at this festival, to check disturbances 
in the town. Last year, more especially, this precaution was 
necessary, and if an outbreak had occurred, and Europeans had 
not been posted at the points marked in your plan, there would 
have been absolutely little or nothing to prevent excited men 
making their way unchecked to Malabar Hill and Mazagon, 
where, as you know, most of the European inhabitants with 
their families reside. 

In regard to the sepoys, I have no doubt that Brigadier 
Shortt took such measures as in his judgment were necessary 
to suppress any attempt at an outbreak, and these, with your 
own good arrangements, seem to have been sufficient to check 
any determination of this kind, if any such existed. 

" Yours sincerely, 
"Matheran, 27th April. " H. Bates." 

This letter led to the following remarks from 
me, which also were sent to Colonel Bates for 

Colonel Bates states that my precautions seem 
to have been chiefly directed against the sepoys, 
without apparently giving equal consideration to 
the possibility of an outbreak amongst 150,000 
Mahomedans at a festival when, notoriously, they 
become much excited. In this Colonel Bates is quite 

M0H011UM IN BOMBAY. 119 

in error. It is only necessary to mention that the 
spot D is the centre of the native town, especially 
as regards Mahomedan districts, and that, at that 
spot, and in its neighbourhood, were placed the chief 
body of the European mounted police, with com- 
munications kept up on all sides. So much for 
any possible contingency from the inhabitants ; but 
every scoundrel in the town was closely watched 
and kept in a state of terror. When, on my rounds 
at night in disguise, I found anybody speaking of 
the successes of the rebels in anything like a tone 
of exultation, I seized him on the spot. A whistle 
brought up three or four policemen who, too, followed 
in disguise, and the person or persons were at once 
bound and walked off to prison. It soon became 
known that the police were everywhere about, 
which had a very salutary effect. Such where the 
impressions as regards its ubiquity, etc., that during 
the whole of the last night and day of the Mohorum, 
the Mahomedans and the rest of the townspeople 
were so well behaved, that it was not found necessary 
to take even a single man into custody. 

It stands to reason that, so long as the military 
remained quiet, the townspeople could not possibly 
be otherwise, and, up to the present time, nothing is 
known to the contrary. 

Colonel Bates states, that in ordinary times 
(before I took charge) the presence of Europeans has 
always been considered necessary at the Mohorum 


festival to check disturbances in the town, and 
more especially last year. Yes ; but on such oc- 
casions a body of two hundred Europeans were 
stationed in the Bhendy Bazaar stables, where, if 
required to act, being all Europeans, they could do 
so with effect ; while at the points C C they were 
not only far away from the densely populated parts 
of the Mahomedan portion of the town, but, in the 
event of a mutiny, their existence would have been 
imperilled by the hostility of the sepoys stationed 
with them. These points, as I had suggested, could 
have been effectively guarded by fifty European 
sailors at each point. 

Colonel Bates thinks that if an outbreak had 
occurred among the townspeople, and Europeans 
had not been posted at the points C C, there would 
have been absolutely little or nothing to prevent ex- 
cited men from making their way, unchecked, to 
Malabar Hill and Mazagon (and he may have added 
Breach Candy), where most of the European in- 
habitants with their families reside. 

Anybody acquainted with Bombay would at once 
see that there are many ways by which the above 
localities could be reached by such men, without 
putting themselves at all in the way of the troops. 

If an outbreak commenced, and was not arrested 
at the instant and at the place it manifested itself, 
the insurgents would immediately begin to spread 
and gather their thousands as they marched on with 


the cry of " Deen," and reach the places they wished 
to attack before the Europeans (if at all enabled to 
leave their stations intact) could overtake them, and 
when overtaken, while their scattered scores were 
keeping out of the way of musket-shots and revel- 
ling in violence, the military would be practically 
useless, as they could not be broken up into small 
detachments to follow the different parties of rebels. 

The tendency of every one of my measures was to 
crush the evil in the bud ; and I was anxious that 
the military arrangements should be of the same 
character ; and they would have been so, had all the 
European infantry then in Bombay, with four or six 
guns, been stationed at the point A. 

In the event of a mutiny, that body would 
have crushed it at once, and the tranquillity of the 
town would have been effectively maintained by the 

As it was, the risk incurred by defective mili- 
tary arrangements was, in my humble opinion, 

Colonel Bates states he has no doubt that, as 
regards the sepoys, Brigadier Shortt took such 
measures as, in his judgment, were necessary to sup- 
press any attempt at an outbreak. What those 
measures could have been it is difficult to conceive. 
Some half a dozen of the officers of each regiment 
were present in the lines on the occasion, who, in 
the event of an outbreak, would have been quickly 


put out of the way. Excepting this, no other 
arrangement seems to have been made. 

The Mohorum is a festival causing great excite- 
ment and religious enthusiasmamong Mahomedans : 
so much so, that the presence in the native town, 
as stated by General Bates, of strong detachments 
of troops, both European and native, were always, 
previous to my time, found necessary for the 
preservation of the peace ; but having a police 
force equal in my estimation to any emergency on 
the part of the population, the idea of being 
dependent on military aid, proved distasteful, and 
with the assistance of the Chief Secretary to 
Government — now Sir Henry Anderson — I discon- 
tinued the practice, and it was attended with the 
happiest results. 

As the Mohorum was approaching, suspicion 
seemed to be directed towards the Mahomedans 
of the town, and the excitement was becoming very 
great. A similar excitement, just previously, had 
led to a panic, and it was followed by the wildest 
hurrying off on board ships in the harbour. I deemed 
it necessary, therefore, to call a meeting of all the 
leading members of the Mahomedan community. I 
was accompanied to it by Colonel, now Lieutenant- 
General, Bird wood, and his son, Doctor George Bird- 
wood. The gathering was unusually large, and my 
address to the assembled native gentlemen, delivered 
in the native language, and reported on the following 


morning in the local English newspapers, was as 
follows : — 

" It affords me much gratification," I remarked, 
" to see assembled so large a body of respectable and 
influential Mahomedan gentlemen. The readiness 
with which you have responded to my call is an 
earnest of your desire to be found on the side 
of order and tranquillity; and, indeed, I do not 
see what possible inducement you could have to 
be otherwise. I avail myself of the present op- 
portunity to correct some strange ideas that are 
afloat in regard to the state of matters in the 
north-west. The tide of insurrection, there can 
be no question, is on the ebb. When compara- 
tively small bodies of Europeans can encounter 
hosts of insurgents and scatter them to the winds ; 
when thousands of the latter have been signally 
unsuccessful in dislodging the small body of Europeans 
before Delhi, who are waiting only for some reinforce- 
ments to sweep them away from that doomed city, and 
when dissensions have already crept in among the 
ranks of those ill-fated and misguided men, we may 
indeed anticipate a speedy termination to their career 
of lawlessness and wrong ; but, be all this as it may, 
were even the tide of rebellion to reach the very shores 
of Bombay, what need is there for apprehension as re- 
gards Bombay ? If not all, most of you, no doubt, are 
aware that this place has been a British dependency 
for more than 200 years. Up to the beginning of the 


present century, and during a period of more than 150 
years, all around was foreign territory, governed by 
despotic rajas, whose will was law, and whose enmity to- 
wards Christian nations was proverbial. History makes 
mention of various plans formed by native potentates 
whose shores overlooked Bombay for the subjugation 
of the ' Fehringee ' Government, but all their efforts 
proved unavailing ; and that, too, at a time when the 
British in India were weak, when their armament was 
insignificant, and when the Indian Dhoolups and Hub- 
sees even dared to attack British ships of trade, and, 
in some instances, successfully. None, therefore, but 
visionaries, men fitted to be made the inmates of the 
Colaba Asylum, would at the present time dare enter- 
tain any idea subversive of the quiet of Bombay ; and 
were anybody to do so, be they mad Mahomedans or 
whosoever else, you may rest assured that measures have 
been taken to circumvent all and every such design, — 
it will recoil upon themselves, and the vengeance taken 
upon them will be signal. Within a very short time 
some hundreds of British bayonets, and a thousand or 
fifteen hundred sailors, will be brought into play ; then, 
what rebel dare stand ? Every guilty man will be 
strung up before his own door. 

" The more immediate object, however, of calling 
you together, is on account of the approaching Moho- 
rum. We all know that it is a festival causing some 
excitement, and viewed by most people as a period for 
some little apprehension. The last two Mohorums, 


we all know, passed off as peaceably as any festival in 
Bombay, either Mahomedan or Hindoo ; and the ap- 
proaching one, I have no donbt, will come to an 
equally peaceable termination. This is the third time 
of my meeting you here with the same object in view, 
to suggest to each. of you to keep a watchful eye over 
persons living near to you and within the reach of your 
influence. If you have reason to suspect the fidelity 
of any, let me know, and you may rest assured that 
he will be speedily dealt with, undeterred by the tram- 
mels of the law. During the last two Mohorums, 
you were eminently successful in the influence you 
exercised, and they passed off without its being neces- 
sary to take any one, Mahomedan or Hindoo, into 
custody. I am hopeful that at the termination of the 
coming Mohorum, I shall find matters exactly similar; 
and I hope to be enabled to report to the Governor 
Saib and the Sirkar that we had been equally success- 
ful. The last two years were ordinary ones ; the pre- 
sent is somewhat different. I do not think it necessary 
to explain to you my own arrangements to defeat the 
object of the wicked, if any there be ; you may rest 
assured that the police shall be in no way remiss ; and 
with your co-operation, which I have no doubt will be 
hearty, and which every man of property and wealth is, 
for his oiun sake, bound to render, I feel certain that 
the coming festival will be brought to a peaceful 

" And now, gentlemen, I have to thank you for 


your kind attendance. I congratulate myself on 
your ready attention to my call ; and I hope to have 
it in my power to congratulate you, by-and-by, on 
your exertions in the cause of order. 

"Although late, it is gratifying to find that an 
address is in course of preparation by the Mahomedan 
community for presentation to Government. And 
why should not Mahomedans vie with and be as 
loyal as any other section of the inhabitants of 
Bombay? Have you not, under British auspices, 
enjoyed all possible freedom in the exercise of the 
rites of your religion? Many of you here present, 
no doubt, remember something of the desecration of 
the tombs of your holy men in the Punjab within 
the last fifty or sixty years. Has anything of that 
kind taken place within the length and breadth 
of British India ? No ! Independently of the rich 
blessings you enjoy — the fruits of good govern- 
ment—your religion has been protected to an extent 
which, certainly, you would not have enjoyed under 
any other government under the sun. Such being 
the case, your own Koran inculcates that you should 
pray for the prosperity of such a government ; and it 
also denounces acts opposed to the well-being of 
such a government as in the highest degree sinful!' 

After I had finished, Colonel Bird wood addressed 
some excellent remarks to the large assembly. He 
dwelt principally on the check which every species 
of improvement in India would receive in consequence 


of the revolt in the north-west ; and concluded with 
the words of a well-known Mahomedan ditty, that 
our just government was by scoundrels hated, and 
by the good beloved. After Colonel Bird wood had 
spoken, a leading member of the Mahomedan com- 
munity assured me that the Mahomedans were most 
peaceably disposed, and that there was no fear of a 
disturbance taking place. 

The Governor, the Judges of the Supreme Court, 
and other high functionaries being present at the 
time in Bombay, I was not quite sure, when on the 
following morning I saw my address published, that 
I had committed no breach of official propriety in 
declaring to the Mahomedan gentlemen that those 
whose fidelity there was reason to suspect would be 
speedily dealt with, undeterred by the " trammels " 
of the law, and that " every guilty man would be 
strung up before his own door." And this doubt 
was by no means allayed when a trooper brought me 
a note from the Private Secretary, telling me that it 
was the Governor's wish to see me. I was received 
by his lordship with his usual kindness, and resting 
his hand on my shoulder, he said, "You had a 
meeting yesterday of Mahomedan gentlemen ; in 
addressing them you made use of very strong 
language; but I am glad you did so." I was of 
course thankful. I then touched upon the protest I 
had placed in the hands of the Private Secretary 
for his lordship's information, against the military 


and police arrangements ordered by Government for 
the preservation of the peace during the Mohorum. 
His Lordship said he was sorry he did not know my 
views before those suggestions were made ; but having 
made them, and the brigadier — the chief responsible 
military authority — having adopted them with the 
concurrence of the chief magistrate, he did not see his 
way to countermanding them ; but he hoped every- 
thing would pass off quietly. I then respectfully 
intimated that I should be obliged to disobey the 
orders of Government in respect to the police arrange- 
ments, for, I added, " I must keep my Europeans 
together and have them in hand in case of a sepoy 
outbreak." His lordship kindly remarked, "It is a 
very risky thing to do to disobey orders ; but I am 
sure you will do nothing rash." And I may now add, 
that it was happy for Bombay, happy for Western 
India, and happy probably for India itself, that one 
so noble and clear-headed as Lord Elphinstone was 
Governor of Bombay during the period of the 
mutiny ; but for which it is impossible to state what 
the results would have been ; and as regards the five 
native gentlemen already named, they would, in all 
human probability, have terminated their career at 
the cannon's mouth. 

Some four or five days after the above interview 
with Lord Elphinstone the following occurrences took 

It was on the eve of the last night of the 


Mohorum. A Hindoo god was carried in procession 
by some townspeople. A Christian drummer, belong- 
ing to the 10th Eegiment N.I., whilst in a state of 
intoxication, assaulted the carriers and knocked over 
the god. Two policemen, by whom the outrage was 
witnessed, took the drummer into custody. A report 
of this reached the men of the regiment, and some 
twenty of them turned out, broke into the lock-up, 
rescued the drummer, assaulted the policemen, and 
mar died them off as prisoners to their lines! The 
European constable of the section, with four police- 
men, then proceeded to the lines and demanded the 
liberation of the policemen; but a large body of 
sepoys surrounded them, and commenced an assault, 
when the European constable and the policemen, 
in self-defence, fought their way out, leaving two 
sepoys for dead and wounding several others. 
This was followed by great excitement among the 
sepoys, and a large number took to their arms. 
A report was brought to me that the native regi- 
ments had broken out. Ordering the European 
mounted police to come on as soon as possible, I 
hastened to the spot as quickly as my horse could 
carry me. I found the sepoys in a state of tumult, 
trying to force their way out of the lines, and five or 
six of their European officers, with drawn swords, 
keeping them back. On seeing me the sepoys 
clamoured that 1 was the man who ordered them to 
be killed ; and the European officers repeatedly cried 


out, " For God's sake, Mr. Forjett, go away ; your 
presence is exciting the men." My reply was, " If 
your men are bent on mischief the sooner it is over 
the better." Within three or four minutes after, my 
assistant, Mr. Edington, came galloping up, followed 
very soon after by my mounted Europeans, about 
fifty-five in number. Bringing my men to the " halt," 
I cried, "Throw open the gates, I am prepared for 
them." This had the effect of cooling their ardour 
for an outbreak, and they soon fell back. Had I 
in compliance with the wishes of the officers, at- 
tempted to retire, and ordered my men to do so, the 
sepoys would have fired upon us and broken out into 
mutiny. This I was resolved not to afford them the 
opportunity of doing; feeling confident that if not 
disposed of before being joined by my men, I should 
be readily able to cope ivith sepoy disloyalty and 

Would these men, under ordinary circumstances, 
have been guilty of conduct so outrageously subversive 
of good order and military discipline ? or is it to be 
doubted that it was the result of contempt for their 
European superiors, arising from a highly inflated 
view of their own importance, and a confident as- 
sumption of their own martial superiority ? 

The above events quite dissipated the small 
shadow of doubt that existed in my mind as to the 
necessity of disobeying the orders of Government in 
respect to the police arrangements for the Mohorum, 


and led to my resolving that the sepoys should be 
strictly looked after by my Europeans being kept 
together. They were fifty-four in number, well 
mounted, well trained to thrusting with the sword in 
preference to the one, two, cuts, which, when lighting 
upon a belt, would prove useless, while every thrust 
would be more or less effective. Under the orders of 
Government these men should have been broken up 
into small detachments and spread over the island, 
far apart from each other, to look after the in- 
habitants, more especially the Mahomedans, and I 
was sorry to find that Bombay was not free from 
Wahabee-pbobia; but I am glad to say that I ex- 
perienced no lack of assistance from Wahabees. The 
kazee, — the high priest in Bombay of Mahomedans, — 
was a rank Wahabee, but made his services available 
at any hour of the day or night ; so was the soobedar, 
Mahomed Booden, of the police, a Wahabee, by 
whom I was greatly assisted in bringing to light the 
plot hatched by the sepoys at Sonapoor ; so was also 
an Arab gentleman who generally accompanied me to 
mosques, coffee-houses, and different places of Ma- 
homedan rendezvous at night, which I thought 
necessary to visit, and which we did in disguise, to 
make myself acquainted with the feelings and views 
of the Mahomedans. Going to such places alone 
attracted more attention than when visited in 

Shortly after the outbreak there was some talk of 
j 2 


introducing martial law into Bombay. The natives 
spoke of it as the " Nuwa Kaeeda " (new law), and 
entertained some strange ideas as to the rigour of its 
provisions. I considered it a fitting opportunity to 
impress upon the evil-disposed and disaffected, the 
danger of conduct in the least subversive of good order. 
I therefore put up a gibbet in the yard of the police 
office, and summoned the leading men among those 
who, in the event of a mutiny, would be foremost in 
the ranks of the lawless, and intimated to them, that 
if I should have the least reason to believe that any 
among them contemplated an outbreak in Bombay, 
they should be at once seized and hanged. What I 
stated was listened to in solemn silence, and every 
man, I felt assured, left the police office overawed, 
and under a thorough conviction that the game of 
rebellion would be a dangerous one. And if, during 
my presence at any place of rendezvous, the language 
of any one bordered on the seditious, I immediately 
threw off my disguise and seized him on the spot ; 
and such was the fear inspired by the police, and such 
the opinion in regard to its ubiquity, that though the 
number assembled was a hundred, or two hundred, or 
more, they immediately hastened away, leaving the 
man who was taken into custody to his fate. And 
in order to keep up the awe of the gallows, Lord 
Elphin stone kindly permitted the deportation of the 
men so taken into custody to the Tanna Gaol by 
night, a mystery thus hanging over their fate. It 


was known that they had been taken up by the police, 
but nothing was known — not till after the crisis of 
the Mutiny had passed — of what had become of them ; 
but I am glad to say that such summary arrests did 
not exceed three or four. 

To return to the police measure for checking 
sepoy outbreak, if such was attempted. On the last 
night of the Mohorum, three Europeans were placed 
on each of the two sides of the sepoy lines, and in- 
termediately, I had three intelligent trustworthy 
native policemen, crouched down near the railings of 
the lines, on the watch, to report to the Europeans 
on either side, if anything was astir within. The 
remaining number (forty-eight) I placed at the spot 
D on plan, and in the neighbourhood, to unite at a 
moment's notice. Such was my confidence that 
everything in the town would be perfectly quiet, and 
that unless a beginning was made by the sepoys 
there was not a man among the inhabitants who 
would dare to raise a finger, that I confined my at- 
tention that night to the sepoy lines, and kept myself 
in their vicinity. If the sepoys attempted to break 
out, which the revelation at Sonapoor proved they con- 
templated, I should have become aware of it by their 
movements within the lines, and by the time they 
shouldered arms and marched out, I should have been 
in the street nearest to the lines with my men, and 
then it would have been only necessary to " right 
wheel," and " charge." We should have had twelve 


or thirteen hundred bayonets to encounter ; and 
though the number of Europeans was small, I calcu- 
lated upon success by taking the sepoys unexpectedly, 
and the suddenness of the dash in amongst them, I 
felt confident, would throw them into a panic and give 
us the advantage. On the evening of that day I 
went into the barracks, explained to the men my 
arrangements and the expectations I entertained, and 
concluded by saying, " We shall do our duty." The 
announcement was received with three such cheers as 
left no doubt that they would be found equal to any 

Happily, or unhappily, caution is a dominant 
element of the Oriental mind, and there was no out- 
break on the last night of the Mohorum. At the 
meeting in Sonapoor it was said that the " hoosharee " 
(vigilance) maintained, prevented it. The only vigilance, 
as will be seen, was that of the police. I have no object 
in wishing to adduce any testimony on the subject, 
but as the above may be looked upon as a mere un- 
supported assertion of my own, I think it necessary 
to add the following extracts : — 

Eesolution of Government, No. 1717, dated June 
19th, 1858, Judicial Department :—" The Eight 
Honourable the Governor in Council cannot too 
highly praise the devoted zeal of this excellent public 
servant, upon whom such grave responsibilities were 
imposed during the past year. 

"The Eight Honourable the Governor in Council 


will only say, and the statement conveys very high 
praise, that the expectations raised by the appoint- 
ment of Mr. Forjett to the execntive command of the 
Bombay Police, have been amply realised." 

Extract, paragraph 5, of a letter to the Commis- 
sioner of Police, from Mr. Secretary Anderson, Judi- 
cial Department, No. 1681, dated 23rd May, 1859: — 

Paragraph 5. — "The Eight Honourable the Gover- 
nor in Council avails himself of this opportunity of 
expressing his sense of the very valuable services 
rendered by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. 
Forjett, in the detection of the plot in Bombay in the 
autumn of 1857. His duties demanded great courage, 
great acuteness, and great judgment, all of which 
qualities were conspicuously displayed by Mr. Forjett 
at that trying period/' 

Letter from Colonel, now Lieutenant-General, 
Birdwood : — "I do feel that we are mainly indebted 
to Lord Elphinstone and yourself for the peace we 
enjoyed in Bombay/' 

Letter from the late Mr. Bichard Spooner, Com- 
missioner of Customs of Bombay : — " The fact is, 
that during the mutinies you were the preserver of 
Bombay and of the lives of all Europeans, Parsees, 
and Portuguese." 

Letter from Mr. John Fleming, C.S.I. : — " I can 
assure you I was never more astonished in my life 
to see the small European force we had available at 
the Mohorum broken up as it was. When I was 


told, some days before, that Europeans were to be 
posted outside, I scouted the idea as absurd, believing 
that our whole force (300 in number) would be kept 
in a central place, to crush rebellion at its earliest 
development. Your vigilance saved Bombay'' 

Letter from Lord Northbrook, then Under-Secretary 
of State for India : — " I was sorry not to have seen 
you again ; but I read with great interest the papers 
you gave me. They prove (and I had always heard 
the same thing from those best acquainted with the 
facts) that you did real good service during the Mutiny." 
And I may add, lastly, that " the gracious approba- 
tion of Her Majesty the Queen, of my conduct during 
the critical period of the Mutiny and disturbances in 
India," was communicated to me by Sir Charles Wood, 
then Secretary of State. 

The European and native communities of Bom- 
bay, for my services during the Mutiny, presented 
me with flattering addresses, and, with the sanction 
of Government, with testimonials and purses to the 
value of £3,850. What was still more gratifying — 
after I had retired from the service and quitted India, 
— the native cotton merchants sent me a handsome 
address and a purse of £1,500, "in token of strong 
gratitude for one whose almost despotic powers and 
zealous energy had so quelled the explosive forces of 
native society that they seem to have become perma- 
nently subdued.' ' The Back Bay Eeclamation Com- 
pany, too, after I had quitted the shores of India, 


allotted to me five shares in their company, which 
they afterwards sold out, and remitted to me £13,580. 
Shares that had been brought to me in another com- 
pany while I was in Bombay I declined to accept, and 
at once returned. 

Sir P. M. Melvill, knighted for services during the 
Mutiny, taking exception to my having stated that 
" I had been the means of saving Bombay during the 
year 1857," wrote, — "I have always myself considered, 
and have never hesitated to assert, that if the merit of 
saving the city of Bombay and the Presidency of Bom- 
bay, and I may say, the entire of Central India, can 
be ascribed to any single individual, it can only be to 
Lord Elphinstone, who was the guiding spirit through 
the whole terrible crisis [f/iis is indisputable]. We 
were but his lieutenants, each labouring earnestly in 
his proper place towards the great end which, under 
Providence, was successfully accomplished. Among 
the agents thus working, your part was a most im- 
portant one, and all will readily admit that your services 
were most efficient, most valuable, and deserving of high 

The following are the particulars of the discovery 
of the sepoy plot at Sonapoor, as stated in the letter 
to Mr. P. W. Le Geyt, already mentioned. 

A detective serving under Soobedar Mahomed 
Booden, of the Bombay Police Force, discovered a short 
time after the Mohorum of 1857, that the house of one 
Grunga Pursad was resorted to by sepoys. Measures 


were, thereupon, immediately taken to introduce a con- 
fidential agent of the police to the meetings ; but with 
so much care was the admission into them of any but 
regimental sepoys guarded against, that my best efforts to 
accomplish that object proved unavailing. I was com- 
pelled, therefore, at all hazards, to determine upon 
forcing Gunga Pursad from his house during the night, 
to bring him to the police office, and there to coerce 
him into divulging all that could be learnt from him 
connected with the meetings of the sepoys. This was 
at once done, and by means of intimidation and en- 
couragement, and under promise of a comparatively 
large pecuniary reward, he was induced to divulge the 
plot which the sepoys who met at his house had con- 
cocted. I learnt from him that in the triple character 
of priest, devotee, and physician, he had acquired the 
confidence of a large and influential body of the native 
military, who believed themselves perfectly safe with 
him, and who made his house their place of rendezvous 
and consultation. 

It was then arranged that he should afford me 
the opportunity of being an eye-witness of what took 
place at his house when the sepoys met there. 

He was given to understand that any attempt 
on his part to play me false would be at his peril ; 
and measures were taken, on the occasion of my 
first visit, to guard against surprise. 

The house occupied by Grunga Pursad consisted 
of an ante-room about thirty feet long and fifteen 


feet wide, with a narrow passage leading from 
the entrance to a small room at the back of the 

I proceeded to the house on the following 
evening in disguise, with my assistant Mr. Edington, 
and a trustworthy native policeman. We were shown 
into the small room before the sepoys came there. 

Three or four small holes, made in the wall of 
plastered wicker-work which separated that room 
from the ante-room, enabled us to witness what 
took place when the sepoys were present. 

They came into the room one by one at short 
intervals ; and though their number was not large, 
it was not possible, from the conversation which 
took place, that there could be any misconception 
as to the widespread disloyalty of the sepoys in 
Bombay, or as to their traitorous intentions. 

It was necessary, however, in taking steps to 
obtain evidence to bring them to justice, to bear 
in mind how emphatically sepoy defection was 
ignored in Bombay, as in every other place, hy 
the officers of their own regiments. 

To have depended upon police evidence alone 
to prove the charge of treason against the sepoys, 
would have been to make shipwreck at once of the 
endeavour to bring tbem to punishment. 

Against such evidence I foresaw would be arrayed 
an overwhelming number of witnesses — their own 
officers — to prove that every man in the lines had 


been most carefully looked after, and that the conduct 
of one and all of the accused was above suspicion. 

I foresaw, also, that unless I went to Grunga 
Pursad's house, accompanied by an officer belong- 
ing to one of the native regiments in Bombay, 
my efforts to bring treason to punishment would 
prove unavailing, and that I should be placing 
myself in a questionable and doubtful position. 

I therefore applied to Major Barrow, the officer 
commanding the Marine Battalion, to accompany me 
to the sepoy meetings ; and he readily complied with 
my request. 

As my daily visits to the major to accompany him 
to the meetings, would have excited suspicion, he very 
kindly, at my request, came to my house, where we 
disguised ourselves differently each day; and, with 
Mr. Edington, proceeded to the Back Bay, and there 
separating, we, one by one, reached the place of 
meeting on foot. 

These visits we were able to repeat only four 
times. The presence of one of us in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the house, on the last occasion, 
excited suspicion, so that Grunga Pursad deemed it 
advisable that we should discontinue to go there. 

During these visits, however, the following facts 
were very clearly ascertained : — 

1st. That an outbreak and revolt, on the last night 
of the Mohorum of 1857, had been determined upon 
by the sepoys of the regiments in Bombay. 


2ndly. That their purpose had not been carried 
out in consequence of the " hoosharee," or vigilance 
maintained on the occasion. 

3rdly. That it had been subsequently determined 
that the outbreak should take place during the 
ensuing Dewallee (when it is the practice with 
natives of all classes to gather together, in a room, 
all the wealth in the house for the purpose of wor- 
shipping it). 

4thly. Their plan was to kill " as many as they 
might chance to come across, or all who happened to 
oppose them ; " to pillage Bombay as speedily as pos- 
sible, and then to march out of the island. 

The plan of the contemplated outbreak and revolt 
was not discussed and matured at the meetings which 
we witnessed, but were spo/cen of as matters that had 
been already planned and determined upon. 

The outbreak fixed for the last night of the Mo- 
horum of 1857 had been put off, it was said, because 
of the vigilance that was maintained on the occasion. 
By postponing it to the time of the Dewallee festival, 
they calculated upon finding us less watchful, and 
therefore less prepared to resist. 

Nothing fell from the sepoys during the meetings 
in Gunga Pursad's house which tended to show why 
they deemed it necessary that they should quit Bom- 
bay as soon as possible after the rise, and the pillage 
and the " destruction of as many as they might fall in 
with, or should oppose them ; " nor was anything 


stated, as to what they intended to do after quitting 
Bombay ; but the statement of Gunga Pursad on 
these points may, I think, be depended upon. From 
the time he became an agent of the police his conduct 
was characterised by a total disregard of the ties 
which bound him to the native military, and by 
singleness of purpose to lay bare their wicked designs. 
He may therefore, I think,be believed when he stated 
that the sepoys determined upon quitting Bombay, as 
quickly as possible, in order that they might not come 
into collision with the European sailors, who, the}^ 
believed, would cause them trouble and annoyance ; 
and their plan, after leaving Bombay, he said, was to 
reach Poona as soon as possible, and, in union with 
the native regiments there, proclaim the sovereignty 
of the Nana as Peshwa of the Deccan. This, from 
what Gunga Pursad stated, was intended as a blind to 
quiet the inhabitants of Poona, and lead them to the 
belief that the good of the people at large was the 
object that the sepoys had in view. 

What transpired in Gunga Pursad's house was 
duly reported to Brigadier Shortt by Major Barrow 
on the one hand, and by myself to the Private Secre 
tary, for the information of Lord Elphinstone, on the 
other. Courts-martial were in due course convened 
by order of Government ; and the proceedings resulted 
in the condemnation of a drill havildar of the Marine 
Battalion, and a sepoy of the 10th Eegiment Native 
Infantry, who were blown away from guns, and in the 


transportation to the An damans, for life, of a soobedar 
and two sepoys of the 11th Eegiment, and two sepoys 
of the 10th Eegiment Native Infantry. 

One other sepoy of the 10th Eegiment was also 
convicted of treasonable intentions, and transported 
on evidence given against him by sepoys of his own 

Major Barrow's astonishment when he saw some 
of his own men in Gunga Pursad's house was remark- 
able. He exclaimed, " My God, my own men ! Is it 
possible V s And his memorable words to me at the 
court-martial were, " It is well I was present, and 
saw and heard them myself, but for which I should 
have been here, not as a witness for the prosecution, 
but as one for the defence : such was my confidence in 
these men." 

When the said revelations were reported by Major 
Barrow to Brigadier Shortt, the latter, Major Barrow 
informed me, in astonishment, exclaimed, " Mr. 
Forjett has caught us at last." 

Happily this intended mutiny was nipped in the 
bud by the very opportune assistance rendered by 
Colonel Barrow. And it will, I think, be admitted 
that I had exercised a wise discretion in evincing the 
determination I did at the sepoy lines, when the 
sepoys, many with arms in their hands that were 
found loaded, were abusing me ; and their officers, 
keeping them back sword in hand, were crying out to 
me, for God's sake, to go away, and that my presence 


was exciting the men. It will be admitted too, I 
think, that I exercised an equally wise discretion, 
when, believing sepoy loyalty not to be depended 
upon, I formed the resolution of disobeying the orders 
of Government, and keeping my Europeans together, 
and so posting them as to have led to the postpone- 
ment of the outbreak that had been arranged to take 
place on the last night of the Mohorum. 

If the mutiny in Bombay had been successful, 
Lord Elphinstone was of opinion, and this is indis- 
putable, that nothing could have saved Hydrabad and 
Poona and the rest of the presidency, and after that, 
he said, " Madras was sure to go too." 

Soobedar Mahomed Booden was married to a 
daughter of a pensioned soobedar of the Marine Batta- 
lion, and being a Wahabee, I believed would have 
experienced no difficulty in being admitted into the 
councils of the native military ; but as it happened 
both he and a very intelligent jemedar of police, 
together with two of my detectives, were excluded 
from their treasonable discussions merely because they 
did not belong to the army. 

The volunteer horse furnished by the civilians, 
that patrolled the streets of Bombay at night during 
the Mutiny, mentioned by General Jacob and Sir 
John Kaye, never existed. 



There are conditions of atmospheric haziness which 
the brightest rays of the sun fail to penetrate, and 
there are states of intellectual obscuration which the 
clearest facts fail to illumine. Problems in politics 
are at best only guesses at truth : they consist, for 
the most part, of probable and possible contingencies, 
and are solved, for the most part, by hypothetical 
processes and arguments. A bold and confident 
debater, as the Marquis of Salisbury, may have found 
it easy to overthrow a political argument to the 
satisfaction of himself and his peers in Parliament; 
but his success does not necessarily depreciate the 
value of the opinions expressed by Lord de Mauley 
as to the aggressiveness of Eussia in Central Asia and 
Asia Minor, and the consequences they are naturally 
tending to. 

The Secretary of State for India, the custodian of 
England's honour and interests in India, and of the 
welfare of three hundred millions of population, 
cannot be forgetful of the fact that from the earliest 
time that Eussia has become a power her aim has 
been the acquisition of Constantinople. Her eighth 
attempt on Turkey resulted in the Crimean War, 


which was frustrated by the combined efforts of 
England and France and Sardinia, at a considerable 
sacrifice of English blood, and expenditure of English 
gold to the extent of one hundred millions. He cannot 
be oblivious, too, of the fact that this frustration of 
Eussian efforts brought about the death of an 
emperor, who is said to have died broken-hearted, 
and inspired the nation at large with the belief that 
if the goal of their ambition, the object of their 
desire, is to be reached, it can only be by a simul- 
taneous move on India as well. Since that time 
Russia has made slow and certain progress towards 
India, capturing places of strategic importance, and 
fortifying her positions as she advanced. 

It was only when Eussian troops were on the 
march to Khiva, that our Government, aroused from 
their state of quiescence, protested against Russia's 
encroachments in the direction of India. This was 
followed by the mission of Count Schouvaloff to 
England, to convey to our Government the solemn 
assurances of the emperor that his object was only 
to chastise the Khan and people of Khiva for the 
wrongs inflicted on Eussian subjects, and that after 
inflicting the chastisement, his purpose was to with- 
draw, and to do as we had done in Abyssinia. Sir 
Erskine Perry and Sir Harry Yerney will remember 
my saying at the time that notwithstanding the 
solemn assurances of the emperor, every inch of 
ground the Eussians took they would keep, and that 


the count's mission was merely to dupe the Govern- 
ment. Subsequent events verified what I had then 

The English Press and the English people were 
loud in their expressions of joy and congratulations on 
the occasion of the marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh 
with the Princess Imperial of Russia. That marriage 
was, unquestionably, prompted by a deeply designed 
policy on the part of the Russians. Its object was to 
inspire the British Cabinet and the British nation with 
the belief that, with such an alliance, Russia could not 
possibly entertain any views adverse to British inte- 
rests, and Russia sought, by that means, to ensure to her- 
self freedom in the prosecution of her designs against 
Turkey. Lord Salisbury will remember my letter to 
him, written more than three years ago, suggesting the 
construction of dams in India for the storage of rain- 
water, to guard against drought and the calamities of 
famine ; and he will remember, that in that letter the 
Emperor of Russia's message to the British Cabinet, 
and the marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh, were thus 
alluded to: — 

"Sir Arthur Cotton, a short time ago, advocated the 
construction of water-ways and canals, in an able paper 
read before the Society of Arts. By all means let us have 
as many canals as possible, but at the same time let us 
have railways as well, through the length and breadth 
of India, for on railways will depend the future of the 
India which is now ours ; but for which, notwithstanding 
k 2 


the honied promises and professions of diplomacy, and 
notwithstanding the recent ' auspicious matrimonial 
alliance that is to bind two of the most powerful nations 
in the bonds of amity and concord* we shall sooner or 
later have to fight. The time when we shall be driven 
to maintain our rights and authority by force of arms 
will, of course, depend upon the political evolutions in 

I am not called upon to express any opinion on the 
advisability, or otherwise, of appointing a consul to 
some town in Central Asia as suggested by Lord de 
Mauley; but I do venture to state that the grounds 
upon which that suggestion was based are by no 
means wanting in importance of the deepest gravity. 
That the Russians have conquered large provinces 
in the direction of India, that they are steadily 
pressing on, that they are extending and connect- 
ing important centres by railways, that a railway 
extension from the sea of Aral to the Caspian is 
now in course of construction, that the Caspian is a 
Eussian sea, over which Eussia exercises unlimited 
sway, that that sea, as well as Eussian territory itself, 
borders on Persia, are facts as clear as is the light of 
day. And need the Secretary of State for India be 
told that Eussia in Persia would be equivalent to 
Eussia in India ? 

The Secretary of State for India states that 
India is separated from Eussian territory by moun- 
tain chains comprising some thousands of miles of 


intervening country. Is it that he has computed the 
distance with Afghanistan on the one side and Persia 
and Beloochistan on the other as neutral zones? 
Even then his method of reckoning is as delusive 
as the measurement by the "rule of thumb" he so 
facetiously described and ridiculed. He contended, 
with good humour and pleasantry, that the danger, 
whatever it might be, of Eussia making advances 
on India, was not in the direction Lord de Mauley 
indicated, and that while Lord de Mauley's obser- 
vations might possibly interest a future generation 
of statesmen, they had no reference to any immediate 
urgency. This is correct in respect to the direction ; 
but Lord de Mauley, nevertheless, gave expression 
to a weighty matter as to the danger to India of 
such approach. There is no probability that the 
Eussians will be so short-sighted as to place their 
necks in jeopardy, by attempting' the invasion of 
India through the intricate mountain gorges of the 
Hindoo Koosh : they would by no means find it 
necessary to do this. The capture, and the virtual 
retention of Khiva in opposition to the protest of 
the British Government, and in violation of the 
solemn assurance that the object was not conquest, 
had produced on the Turkoman hordes in the neigh- 
bourhood, on the Afghans, on the Persians, and even 
on the thinking portion of the population of India, 
a deep impression that the power of Eussia was such 
as prevented England from contending with her ; for, 


it was said, that having protested against the occu- 
pation, England would have taken steps to dislodge 
the invaders had she but the power to do so. Such 
was the effect with reference to the comparatively 
small matter of the aggression upon Khiva. It was 
remembered, too, that in the Crimean War, England, 
France, Sardinia, and Turkey were united against 
Russia, and that it was only under this quadruple al- 
liance that Eussia was vanquished ; that France having 
been since rendered helpless, it was concluded that 
England dared not oppose herself to Eussia single- 
handed. The Oriental mind is incapable of weighing 
or appreciating the clogs, the obligations, and the intri- 
cacies of a constitutional government. The only thing 
that their minds are capable of resting upon is, that 
the " sirkar " is supreme, its will paramount ; but the 
idea that a government is bound to attend to the 
wishes of its subjects, or may be influenced by 
popular opinion, is ' far beyond their conception. 
The one thing that they do see is, that the British 
Government, with folded arms, is regarding the 
present state of affairs with apparent indifference, 
and this inactivity is doing incalculable mischief 
throughout the East. In Afghanistan its effect is 
seriously perturbing. The Ameer is in a painful 
state of doubt whether he should make common 
cause with the British, because of their proximity, 
and the danger that a manifestation hostile to them 
may lead to, or whether, Eussia being the more 


powerful, he should form an alliance with her. If 
the intelligence lately conveyed by the Indian mail 
is to be depended upon, and I see no reason why it 
should not, the probability is that such an alliance 
has been already formed, for it appears he has ordered 
" all Afghans who are in the British service to choose 
between giving up their employment or leaving the 
country with their families/ ' And, further, that he 
will receive no more arms or money from the Indian 

There can be no doubt that Mr. Gladstone and 
the Liberals have contributed largely to the compli- 
cation of the Eastern Question by the enunciation of 
views which have tended to exhibit England as 
divided. Considering the share Mr. Gladstone had 
in bringing about the Crimean War ; considering his 
undoubted knowledge of the systematic intrigues 
practised by Russia to keep Turkey in a state of 
domestic turmoil and violence ; considering the share 
that she had in bringing about the Bulgarian atro- 
cities ; and, above all, considering his knowledge of 
the hereditary ambition of Russia to possess Con- 
stantinople, it was matter of surprise to find him 
straining his efforts to the utmost to persuade Eng- 
land at large to believe that Russia's object was 
purely humanitarian, and not conquest ! He asks, too, 
" who has lifted a finger against British interests ? " 
He will yet see. 

Finding the majority by which he had been 


installed Premier of England attenuated ; that some 
measures of his Government had sustained defeat; 
and believing that the ballot, which he had been the 
means of carrying, would re-establish his power, Mr. 
Gladstone brought on the sudden dissolution of 
Parliament, and took England by surprise ; but the 
elections proved that the result had been greatly 
miscalculated. Then followed the purchase by the 
present Government of the Suez Canal shares, which 
called forth the ecstasies of the nation. But it was 
condemned by Mr. Gladstone ; and he engaged in the 
unavailing effort of proving it an unworthy measure. 

It is not surprising that disappointments con- 
nected with rivalry in office should have distorted 
the powerful intellect of even a Gladstone ; but that 
political sagacity should have proved erratic in matters 
of ordinary experience and common sense, is by no 
means excusable. To sacrifice British interests is to 
sacrifice British honour ; and, to whatever extent Mr. 
Gladstone may indulge in repudiating the idea of 
British interests being imperilled, the Government, 
in my humble estimation, very properly and wisely, 
and certainly without losing sight of the rights of 
humanity, took its stand upon those grounds, and the 
effort made by Mr. Gladstone to dislodge them has 
been infelicitous and pitiable. Speaking a short time 
ago at Birmingham, Mr. Gladstone, availing himself 
of the presence of " our friend Mr. Dale," addressed 
his audience in the following terms : — " In dealing 

mr. Gladstone's speech at Birmingham. 153 

with individuals, does he find it necessary continually 
to preach to his congregation and stimulate each of 
them to pay due regard to his own interests? I 
apprehend that if he did, he would he held in a much 
lower estimate than that in which you actually hold 
him ; " and he also added, " To talk to nations of the 
necessity of maintaining their interests is throwing a 
dangerous temptation in their way." 

This is placing the morality of nations and of 
individuals upon a dead level, for he assumes that 
there is no distinction whatever between them. The 
rights and duties of individuals are denned and main- 
tained by law and social usage, and are so effectually 
safe-guarded that individual morality is not required 
to concern itself on the rights of self-interest. But 
how is it in regard to the morality of nations? 
What law is there to protect one nation against the 
encroachments and aggression of another? Inter- 
national guarantees ? Kussia has set the example of 
treating the most solemn guarantees as so much waste 
paper; and under the pretence of a mission of humanity 
and of protection to the Sclav population from Turkish 
atrocity and misrule, is now pursuing a course which 
is calculated most seriously to endanger British in- 
terests, both at home and abroad, and, with Mr. Glad- 
stone's assistance, had so imposed upon the perceptions 
and judgment of a portion of the nation as, in a 
measure, to force the Government to abandon the 
means for the protection of British interests. 


While France was the foremost military power on 
the Continent, and was ever ready to join in the re- 
pression of nnjust aggressions, England needed no 
ally in her mission of justice and international fair- 
dealing. When Germany was about to engage in 
war with France, Russia — as might have been expected 
— declared her neutrality, and, in the event of any 
other power uniting with France, pledged herself to 
co-operate with Germany. France was afterwards 
believed to have been thoroughly beaten at Sedan, 
and England, as a military power, was isolated and 
rendered comparatively ineffective. This was doubt- 
less followed by a large effusion of German gratitude 
towards Eussia. Russia's bitterness against the Paris 
Treaty was, at the same time, no secret, and there 
can be no question that, under Prince Bismarck's 
inspiration, the attempt was made by the Russian 
Emperor to tear up that treaty. England, though at 
the time in the hands of a Liberal Government, 
strenuously remonstrated. The discovery, in the 
meantime, was made that France, instead of being 
thoroughly beaten, was preparing to fight it out to 
the bitter end, and Prince Bismarck, conscious that 
his advice for putting an end to the Paris Treaty had 
been premature, suggested that Russia should plead 
that she intended no violation, but that she simply 
desired an alteration in the Treaty according to the 
altered circumstances of Europe. It was at the same 
time suggested, by the way of flattering England and 


throwing the Government off its guard, that a con- 
ference should be held in London. The bait, of 
course, took, and Eussian diplomatists over-reaching 
the sagacity of British statesmen, had it all their own 
way, and carried all disputed points. 

The war with Germany was one of provocation 
on the part of France, and it was right and proper 
that she should have been left to meet the con- 
sequences. But when it became evident that the 
supposed demolition of her power had prompted an 
act of international outrage of so grave a character 
as the attempt to set aside the Paris Treaty, and 
thereby imperil British interests ; and when too there 
were good grounds for believing that Germany was 
an accessory to such attempted violation, her conduct 
should at once have been subjected to the test of 
proof, by requesting her to join England, Austria, 
and Turkey, the other signatories to the Treaty, 
in the protest against the attempt to set aside that 
Treaty. If political integrity had not been quite 
dismissed from the state councils of Germany, that 
request, just and reasonable in itself, would have been 
assented to ; but, if not, then was the moment, 
instead of assenting to a Conference, to have set aside 
the blandishment of diplomacy, and to have adopted 
stringent measures against Germany. The moral 
effect of this on France would have been great. 
Austria, pledged to join in the struggle for her 
own sake, would have come forward, while Italy, 
that owed France a debt of gratitude, would in 


all probability have joined in the common cause, 
and Eussia being at this time frozen up, the Govern- 
ment, by a stroke of policy, at once bold and de- 
termined, would have brought the war to a termina- 
tion without firing a single shot, and have afforded a 
practical illustration of what England could do, and 
revived the recollection of Cromwell's cherished boast, 
that the name of an Englishman should be as much 
feared as had ever been that of a Eoman. But 
witness the contrast. Mr. Gladstone's Government 
remonstrated with that of Berlin, because of the 
enormity of the war indemnity demanded of France, 
and suggested a reduction. With what result ? Mr. 
Gladstone made the acknowledgment in Parliament 
that no notice was taken of it. It was treated with 
silent contempt ! ! ! Had a bold attitude been assumed 
at the proper moment, the after results of Sedan 
would have been obviated, and have rendered France 
the perpetual ally of England, and Russia would not 
then have dared to tamper with British interests. 

I trust Sir Harry Yerney will pardon my again 
alluding to our railway meeting and conversation. 
The subject touched upon was the political prospects 
in Europe. This was immediately after the meeting 
of the three emperors at Berlin, and I expressed my 
belief that the fate of Turkey had been sealed on that 
occasion. Prince Bismarck has been mainly in- 
strumental in bringing about German unity. There 
is, however, the Austrian portion, the amalgamation 
of which as well, I had no doubt, was a matter of 


deep concern to him, and I was of opinion that the 
arrangement come to at that meeting, in the prospect 
of a redistribution of territory, was that Austria 
should give up that portion to Germany, and recoup 
herself by joining Russia in the division of Turkey. 
This is still my belief. Austria, up to the present 
time, has made no hostile movement: her Hungarian 
population is doubtless keeping her in check, and she 
is waiting her opportunity ; or what can be the 
meaning of the Russians being allowed, in their 
efforts to subjugate Turkey, to bridge over the 
Danube and cut off Austria's means of sea com- 
munication with the outside *world ? The wished- for 
opportunity will come so soon as Russia has van- 
quished Turkey, when the opposition of Hungary could 
easily be put down with Russian assistance, as was 
done on a previous occasion. These are the hypotheses 
by which Austria's prolonged passivity may be ex- 
plained. Were these not the arrangements, Austria 
would, no doubt, have mobilised and held herself in 
readiness for action, as on the occasion of the Crimean 
War, when the danger to her was less formidable 
than at the present time. The discovery may yet be 
made that the understanding come to at the imperial 
meeting was, that Russia should go in and win, 
and that the cost should be mutually shared at the 
division of the spoil. If intervention should be 
eventually determined upon, it would be happy, in 
the interests of Europe, if it be not a hostile 


intervention in furtherance of the objects of acquisition 
of the triple alliance. It is to be remembered, too, 
that in the drawing up of the Andrassy Note and the 
Berlin Memorandum, England was not requested to 
take part, and that the documents were only after- 
wards communicated to her. 

It is to be hoped that those who were at one time 
disposed to view Eussia as engaged only in a work of 
mercy, in a mission of humanity, are now beginning 
to penetrate her motives. The conquest and possession 
of Constantinople has been the long-cherished desire 
by which she has been tempted on. It was believed 
that any attempt on the part of Eussia to gain a 
footing in Turkey would compromise German and 
Austrian interests, and at once evoke their hostility. 
Instead, however, of a compromise of interests, both, 
it will be found, would be greatly advantaged by the 
event. The supineness displayed by German and 
Austrian plenipotentiaries during the Conference, the 
peremptory interdiction conveyed on one occasion to 
the former by Prince Bismarck, to withhold assent 
to certain proposals discussed during the sittings, 
clearly evidence an understanding between those 
powers ; while, on the other hand, the vast mobilisa- 
tion of Eussian troops on the frontier, the enormous 
stores of corn and food laid up in Wallachi even 
while the Conference was sitting, the large extent to 
which the Eussian arsenals have been taxed during 
the last three years for the manufacture of arms and 


munitions of war, and the large contracts entered into 
with America for the supply of arms, all indicate that 
war was the object that Russia had in view. Nor 
were the preparations in Asia less extensive, nor 
carried out with less forethought. And while Europe 
was being diverted with notes, memorandums, pro- 
tocols, and solemn professions of peace, it was patent 
to every small chemist in London, from the enormous 
quantity of quinine that was purchased and stored 
away by Russia, that war was a foregone conclusion. 

Russia's object now is to press on towards Con- 
stantinople, and if successful in vanquishing the 
Turks, our tenure of India would become precarious. 
The charm of England's prestige, which has enabled 
a handful of Europeans to hold in subjection the 
hundreds of millions of the populations of India, 
would be dispelled, and the Oriental mind, divested of 
the influences of the spell, would learn to invest 
Russia's power and irresistibility with highly exag- 
gerated notions of superiority, and British supremacy, 
now standing on the pinnacle of their estimation, 
would then be precipitated to the very lowest depth. 
The Mahomedans especially, so deeply interested in the 
fate of Turkey, would view us with contempt. Russia's 
success, in fact, would effectually demoralise India. 

It is to be regretted that Lord Salisbury's attitude 
at the Conference was not marked with more firmness 
and decision. The Russian Plenipotentiary, as a 
matter of course, presented himself with a catalogue 


of demands which he and his Government must have 
heen well aware that Europe would not countenance, 
and that Turkey would reject. Then, under pretence 
of large-hearted professions of benevolence on the part 
of His Imperial Majesty, and solemn repudiation of 
views of conquest, was played out that course of 
mock moderation by which, clause after clause, the 
Russian demands were allowed to be reduced to a 
minimised minimum, to which, eventually, the 
Plenipotentiaries assented. But there was nothing 
upon which to ground the hope that the Government 
of the Sultan would accept this final resolution ; on 
the contrary, the opposition evinced by the Turkish 
Plenipotentiaries was stern and uncompromising. 
And it was easy to perceive that while General 
Ignatieff was indulging in specious declarations of 
his august Sovereign " having no other principles 
in view than those of humanity and moral duty," he 
was doing all in his power to pave the way for the 
invasion of Turkey, with the concurrence of the 
Plenipotentiaries. That Lord Salisbury was well 
aware of this is clear from his speech at the Con- 
ference of the 1 5th of January (VIII. Protocol) . He 
there states, " The Porte should consider the injurious 
consequences that may result from such a change in 
the public opinion of Europe, and then," he adds, 
" toe can foresee dangers at hand which threaten the 
very existence of Turkey if she allows herself to be 
entirely isolated." He further stated "that it was 


his duty to free Her Majesty's Government of all 
responsibility for what may happen, and that he was 
instructed to declare formally that Great Britain is 
resolved not to give her sanction either to mal- 
administration or oppression." Great Britain certainly 
cannot accord her sanction to maladministration or 
oppression; but how does Lord Salisbury reconcile 
this announcement with his report to Lord Derby, of 
the 4th of January — only eleven days previously — 
that "it is probable the movements that had recently 
taken place in Bulgaria and had been so terribly 
repressed, were due in part to agitators of Russian 
nationality." He might very properly have said 
that it was owing entirely to Russian conspiracy and 
intrigue. A careful study of the part taken by Lord 
Salisbury at the Conference does not inspire one with 
the idea that the position he had taken up, as Her 
Majesty's special Plenipotentiary, was an independent 
one. The impression left is, that influenced by the 
superior force of will of the Russian General, the 
Secretary of State for India was led into a complete 
forgetfulness of British interests. From first to last 
there is not one word in the Blue Book on the 
subject. Having made up his mind to join the Pleni- 
potentiaries in announcing their final resolution to the 
Sultan, and following it up with the intimation that, 
if not accepted, Turkey would be left alone to take the 
consequences, he should, at the same time, have taken 
his stand on the grounds of British interests, and have 



given Eussia and Turkey clearly to understand that 
England, though relying on the promises and pledges 
of the Emperor, that Constantinople is not an object 
with him, would, notwithstanding, in view to possible 
contingencies, hold herself at liberty, in the event of 
the Pruth being crossed by Eussian troops, to 
despatch a British force into Turkey for the pro- 
tection of British interests. Thus might have been 
shadowed forth the intentions of the British Govern- 
ment, and have placed the present movement of troops 
beyond the sneers of Eussian ridicule, and the mis- 
representations of the small party of her partisans in 
England. As it is, the Secretary of State for India 
has seriously imperilled British interests. Eussian 
success, if such should be the result of the war, would 
reduce our tenure of India to a very short term. Our 
best Indian friends and feudatories, looking down with 
contempt upon British power, would deem it necessary 
to make their peace with Eussia. The success of the 
Turks, on the other hand, would lead the Ma- 
homedan world of India and of Asia to view 
British power with a deeper contempt for having 
abandoned Turkey in the hour of her need, and from 
Turkey — their co-religionists — having successfully 
accomplished, single - handed, what England, they 
would say, dared not have taken part in. All this 
might have been avoided, if Lord Salisbury, un- 
influenced by the Eussian Plenipotentiary, had, in the 
event of Eussian troops crossing the Pruth, provided 


for the occupation of Constantinople and a certain 
extent of territory inland, on the understanding that 
if Eussian efforts should prove successful, we should 
remain in permanent possession ; or if the Turks 
succeeded in repelling the invasion, we should give it 
back to them. 

It would probably be stated that Turkey would 
not have assented to such a proposal. If such had 
been the case, British diplomacy at the Turkish 
capital must have been a mere sham, if an arrange- 
ment of such vital importance to both Governments 
could not have been carried. 

Speaking a short time ago at Nottingham, Mr. 
Gladstone, expressing himself with the confidence of 
an oracle, declared, that if the Government had fol- 
lowed his advice " not one drop of human blood would 
have been shed " in Turkey, which, he said, was owing 
to the British fleet having been despatched to Besika 
Bay. Whatever might have been the measures of the 
Government, Lord Salisbury, there can be no doubt, 
effectually played the disciple to Mr. Gladstone's 
"policy of coercion"; but both Mr. Gladstone and 
Lord Salisbury very greatly misapprehended the 
characteristic of the Moslim. Left to himself, the slow 
process of national decay might eventually have 
brought about his disappearance from Europe ; but 
his religious frenzy having been vivified by a sense of 
danger, the resolution became implanted in him of stern 
and unyielding resistance, and this was unmistakably 
l 2 


apparent, from the earliest stages of the Conference, 
from the tres Men of the Turkish Plenipotentiaries to 
all efforts at persuasion. 

The gathering at Delhi of the princes and nobles 
of India, the reception accorded to and the titles 
bestowed on them by the Governor-Greneral on the 
occasion of the proclamation of Her Majesty as 
Empress of India, was a grand stroke of conciliatory 
policy, and would have ensured the most satisfactory 
results ; but like the appeal to the better judgment of 
the native soldiery, the recognition of good services, 
and the distribution of crosses of honours and purses 
of money by Sir Henry Lawrence on the occasion of 
the Durber held by him at Lucknow, it was too late, 
and, as was the case on that occasion, it was ascribed 
to fear. 

Russia, calculating largely on European credulity, 
started with the plea of redressing the wrongs inflicted 
by Turkey on the Christian population of Europe ; 
but what was it that led her into Asia ? Would she 
have been satisfied with the province of Erzeroum 
alone, which it is urged was her object, if the fortune 
of war had placed it in her possession ? The thirst for 
victory becomes more and more insatiable, especially 
when incited by sturdy resistance and feelings of 
revenge ; and to expect that an army that is aggres- 
sive would limit the bounds of its aggression, is to 
expect that for which history accords no warrant. 

That the policy of Russia has always been a 

Russia's political dishonesty. 165 

shifting policy, and that her promises are not to be 
depended upon, is evidenced by several instances of her 
own conduct. In 1828 she acted in alliance with the 
great powers, but so soon as the Turkish fleet was 
destroyed at Navarino, she suddenly separated herself 
from her allies, and in opposition to their views and 
wishes, invaded Turkey in prosecution of her own 
objects. The facts connected with the Treaty of 
TJnkiar Skillessi, surreptitiously entered into with 
Turkey, and the protectorate pretensions afterwards 
put forward by Eussia in respect to the Sultan's sub- 
jects of the Greek Church, which eventually led to the 
Crimean War, and her conduct in regard to the Treaty 
of Paris, need no repetition. But be all this as it may, 
Eussia's success in Turkey, Constantinople in her pos- 
session, and the command she would acquire over the 
Black Sea, would deeply imperil British interests in 
Europe and in India. In Europe, especially in respect 
to England's universally acknowledged naval supre- 
macy, which Eussia would in a few years render a 
nullity, unless countervailed by the addition of millions 
to the taxes. In India it will shake our power to the 
very centre. And what are the means for averting such 
a calamity? 

His Eoyal Highness the Prince of Wales came 
away from India very favourably impressed with the 
sepoy army. And there is a very large body of 
British officers of sepoy regiments who, I am aware, 
would stand up in defence of sepoy valour, of sepoy 


allegiance, and of sepoy devotion ; but it is necessary 
only for a moment to call to mind certain incidents in 
connection with the Indian Mutiny. Could confidence 
in their men on the part of their officers have been 
more generous, more perfect ? The very idea of their 
fidelity being questioned led to scenes in which swords 
were unbuckled and flung away or snapped, and resig- 
nation of commissions tendered with the wildest sym- 
pathy and tenderness for their sepoy comrades. But 
what did it all result in. It resulted in the sepoys 
shooting down most of those officers, and in slaughter- 
ing their wives and children in cold blood. If confi- 
dence in sepoy valour and devotion should, in the 
future, be persisted in by their European officers, the 
mistake would again prove as egregious as it did 
during the period of the Indian Mutiny. At the 
present time reports are tolerably concurrent that the 
object of the Eussians in Turkey is the extermination 
of the Turks. It might well have been then said, that 
the object of the sepoy army was the extermination of 
the white population. 

This reminds me of a remark made by Mr. Glad- 
stone in the House of Commons, during a debate on 
the Bulgarian atrocities. When the conduct of the 
Eussians in Poland and elsewhere was alluded to, his 
reply was, "Produce the papers in regard to the conduct 
of the British in India during the Mutiny, and you 
will see what had been there done. ,, This, again, is 
another instance of the extent to which a great mind 


is liable to suffer perversion. In India the slaughter 
of European men, women, and children, had been 
appalling. Can human nature contemplate with 
subdued feelings, cruelties and horrors the most 
revolting, and not feel stirred up to revenge ? 
Under the wildest excitement of the moment, some 
outrages may have been committed ; but is that to be 
compared to the cold-blooded atrocities perpetrated by 
the Russians in subjecting men and women to the 
punishment of the knout, and in many instances 
beating them to death, because of a conscientious 
adherence to their own religious belief? Or to 
houses being set on fire, in which were the sick and 
wounded, and, on their attempting to escape, shooting 
and bayoneting them ? 

To proceed with my subject. I have no hesitation 
in stating that in the event of an emergency, such as 
being brought into the presence of a European foe, 
the sepoy army would prove itself worthless. I shall 
leave my own experience of and association with the 
sepoy's elements out of the question, and will found 
my statement on historical and official record. In 
the early days of the British career in India, when 
their military measures were in a state of inception, 
and British fighting-power was held in very low 
estimation, the French, more powerful, more ad- 
vanced in their organisations, landed at Madras, 
" compelled the town and fort to capitulate," dis- 
played the French flag on Fort St. George, seized the 


contents of the warehouses as prizes ,of war, carried 
off the Governor and several of the first gentlemen as 
prisoners to Pondicherry, and marched them in a 
triumphal procession through the town (Macaulay's 
" Essays," page 451). This inspired the native princes 
of that part of the continent of India with contempt 
for the British, and one of those princes, with reference 
to the incident I shall now refer to, stated that " he 
never before believed that Englishmen could fight." 
Soon after, Clive, with a handful of European and 
sepoy soldiers, suddenly appeared before and captured 
Arcot, was himself besieged by the forces of the 
Nabob and the French, and, notwithstanding the 
presence of a hundred and fifty French European 
soldiers — in those days by no means a contemptible 
number — he vanquished them all, and inspired his 
enemies with the belief that he was the stronger, as 
compared with the French. And what was the 
result? Six hundred sepoys who had served in the 
enemy's army came "over to Olive's quarters, and 
were taken into British service." Instances of this 
kind were by no means uncommon. 

In the Sepoy War, " with reference to the small 
disaster in Eamoo in Burmah, it is stated (page 266) 
nothing tries the fidelity of the sepoy army so fatally 
as disaster. When news came that the war had 
opened with a great failure, strange stories relating 
to the difficulty of the country to be traversed, the 
deadliness of the climate to be endured, and the 


prowess of the enemy, forced their way into circu- 
lation, and the willingness which the sepoy had once 
shown to take part in the operations beyond the 
frontier began to subside, and they were eager to find 
a pretext for refusing to march.' ' With reference to 
the Afghan disaster (page 174), "The sepoy learnt 
then, for the first time, that a British army is not 
invincible in the field, that the great fortune of the 
Company which had carried us on gloriously through 
so many great enterprises, might sometimes dis- 
astrously fail us." " The charm of a century of 
conquests was then broken." " The crisis was a 
perilous one, and the most experienced Indian states- 
men regarded it with dismay, not knowing what a 
day might produce. They had no faith in our allies 
(the Sikhs), no faith in our soldiery. An army of 
retribution, under a wise and trusted leader, went forth 
to restore the tarnished lustre of the British name, but 
ominous whispers soon came from his camp that that 
army was tainted — that the sepoy regiments, no longer 
assured and fortified by the sight of that ascendant 
star of fortune ivhich once had shone with so bright and 
steady a light, shrunk from entering the passes." 

The occurrence at Purwun-Durrah, in the Kohistan 
of Cabool, is thus mentioned in general orders by the 
Governor-General of India, under date 2nd November, 
1841: — " Two squadrons of the 2nd Regiment of 
Bengal Light Cavalry, comprising two-thirds of the 
whole regiment, while confronting a body of Afghan 


horse, were ordered to charge, but could not be 
induced to follow their European officers ; and, further, 
when their manifest cowardice emboldened the enemy 
to become the assailants, so far from defending them- 
selves, they turned their horses and fled in panic and 
inextricable confusion, and only staid their flight 
when they had gained the rear of the column from 
which they had been detached in pursuit. The noble 
example set them by their European officers, whom 
they basely allowed to charge unsupported, and of 
whom Captains Fraser and Ponsonby were severely 
wounded, and Lieutenant and Adjutant Crispen killed 
on the spot, rendered their dastardly conduct the 
more inexcusable, and imposes on the Government the 
necessity of removing them from the army." 

Such was the cowardice displayed in the presence 
of an Oriental enemy by a crack, high caste cavalry 
regiment. What, then, will be the effect upon the 
native army if brought face to face with a European 
foe — the Eussians for instance, a name which for 
years past has been associated in the Oriental mind 
with what is by no means weak or pusillanimous? 
If the efforts of the Turks in repelling the tide of 
invasion should prove unsuccessful, and Russia plants 
herself in Constantinople, and is successful in Asia, our 
hold on India would be at her mercy. Her success, 
while elevating her irresistibility to the highest pinnacle 
of importance, would reduce British estimation to the 
lowest depth, and place Persia and Afghanistan at her 


feet. In such a case a native army would be more an 
element of danger than of safety, and our only depen- 
dence will be in our European forces, but they are merely 
a handful, and would require to be largely reinforced. 

The Sikhs and Napaulese may be very good 
soldiers. Led on from victory to victory, they may 
prove good warriors ; but a single check would under- 
mine their loyalty, and lead them to side with the party 
which, for the time, may appear to be the stronger. 

If Eussia's present efforts should prove temporarily 
unsuccessful, we should have time which ought to be 
utilised to the fullest possible extent in maturing 
arrangements for the protection of India. An Oriental 
foe is out of the question. Eussia is the only Euro- 
pean power with whom India — whatever may be the 
opinion of the Secretary of State — is an object. To 
effect our purpose the services of British officers will 
be available in abundance for training the Turkoman 
tribes, the Afghans, and the Persians, in the system 
of European warfare. This should be taken advantage 
of under arrangements for officering their army with 
British officers. This could be easily effected by send- 
ing them to enter their service, and any little difficulty 
that might present itself may be smoothed down by 
means of a little judicious diplomacy. Hobart Pasha 
and Colonel Valentine Baker, and others, have already 
set the example ; and the earliest opportunity might 
then be taken to dislodge the Eussians from Khiva, 
and bar Eussia's progress in the direction of India. 


The Turks, fighting for existence, have been doing 
admirably; but if their efforts should fail, matters 
in regard to India will be rendered urgent. There 
are some reports in Bombay of the despatch of troops 
to Egypt, which is hardly to be credited. In the 
event of war, Russia will not find Egypt within 
easy access : nor is she likely to run the gauntlet 
of attempting an ingress by the way of Afghanistan, 
unless the Ameer, seduced by the promises of Eussia, 
proves perfidious. In such case, Quetta will of course 
be at once occupied; but Persia, from the Caspian, 
there can be no doubt, would be selected by prefer- 
ence, as the ground best suited for concentration and 
studied arrangements, aud this ought to be guarded 
against at all cost and at all risk. 

With railways traversing India, with our Euro- 
pean forces gradually augmented to about 120,000 
under a permanent residence arrangement, with a 
society in England for the promotion of female emi- 
gration to provide our soldiers with wives, so that, 
in time, the forces might be recruited on the spot, 
the present enormously large sepoy army might, in 
my very humble opinion, be allowed to die out. 
The general tranquillity of the country has not 
been by any means dependent on the sepoy army. 
The police has always, with some very rare excep- 
tions, been found equal to maintaining order, and, 
under the possible contingency of disaffection or con- 
spiracy among the people, a superintendent of police 


of ordinary judgment, with an efficiently organised 
police force, ought to be able either to nip it in the 
bud or obtain military aid in time to prevent mischief. 
The proposal for doing away with the native army 
will, no doubt, be deemed outrageous, and as involv- 
ing an arrangement for the exclusion of the natives 
of India from the honourable profession of arms. 
It may be at the same time looked upon as fore- 
shadowing the wish to perpetuate British rule, with- 
out reference to the rapidly growing intelligence and 
capacity of India to govern itself. I should be the 
last man in the world to entertain any such views* 
In suggesting that the native army should be left 
to die away, I have the regeneration of India more 
at heart than at first sight may appear to be the case. 
India is split up into an innumerable number of 
castes. The native army itself is an agglomeration 
of castes, and is, of all castes, the most haughty and 
overbearing. So long as these internal social di- 
visions continue, so long will India be deprived of 
the power to govern herself. If by any chance 
England should lose her hold on India, India left 
to herself would soon exhibit a moral chaos, an 
anarchy, all the more embittered by the restraints 
in which the bold, the daring, and the licentious 
among her populations have been held. If the 
efforts of the sepoy army during the period of the 
Mutiny had been successful in bringing about our 
extermination, they would soon afterwards have 


commenced the work of oppression and bloodshed 
among themselves, and that would have continued 
to be the normal condition in which India would 
have remained. Education, however, is advancing, 
and caste prejudices are fast crumbling away. I was 
myself on one occasion, in Bombay, surprised by the 
request of a high caste Hindoo gentleman, now in a 
high social and official position, who called to see 
me. He said he was thirsty, and asked for a glass of 
water. I rose to get it for him. He would not have 
me do so, but desired that I should call my servant 
to fetch it. I said my servant was a low caste man. 
He smiled, and said that he had quite got over pre- 
judices of that kind. Between Christian converts 
intermarriages of high caste Bhramins to Mharatta 
and Dher women have taken place, and marriages 
between different castes are by no means uncommon. 
Education and enlightenment, in combination with 
their own common sense, are effacing the demarcations 
of caste and the exclusiveness of religious prejudices, 
and the permanent settlement of European soldiers in 
India, with the permission to intermarry when any 
should wish to do so, will largely promote the blending 
of the races. The places vacated in the army by the 
fathers should, as a rule, be made available to the 
sons, if physically eligible. The Indian sun will, of 
course, tan their skins, but it will not impede the de- 
velopment of the higher virtues of courage and intellect. 
Time was when England too was split up and divided 


by caste, when the animosities existing amongst 
them exceeded the animosity of " conn tries at war 
with each other," when the ordinary imprecation of 
a Norman was, " May I become an Englishman ! " and 
his ordinary form of indignant denial, " Do yon take 
me for an Englishman?" It is a matter of universal 
acknowledgment, too, that Englishmen owe what they 
are to the amalgamation of the different races which 
in bygone days inhabited England. India, there can be 
no doubt, would in time be as largely benefited by the 
same process. The germs being set, their growth will 
naturally follow, and the doing away with the native 
army will, in my humble opinion, hasten on the wished- 
for consummation. In its course religious prejudices 
would be blotted out, and religious barriers broken up, 
and love of country, taking place of these, will hold 
forth the hope of India being able to govern herself, 
and so becoming a source of strength to England. 

The Government, it is to be hoped, will be des- 
patching forty or fifty thousand troops to Turkey for 
the protection of British interests, if circumstances 
should render necessary such a measure ; but the 
advantage to be derived from such a step can be only 
temporary. The Balkans and other approaches to 
Constantinople present configurations which it may 
be easy to defend, but no nation can now pretend to 
exclusive superiority in arms, and the word "impreg- 
nable" must be expunged from the military vocabulary. 
By the sharp firing of the present sy stem of warfare 


the process of mowing down is effected with a rapidity 
that almost bars the use of the bayonet. The 
memories, therefore, of the great deeds accomplished by 
British pluck at Cressy, at Waterloo, and other battle- 
fields, may be obliterated as well. The only elements 
which at the present time constitute invincibility are 
the superior masses that one nation has the power of 
hurling against another. In this respect our power 
is exceptionally limited, and Continental nations are 
well aware of it. So long as mankind freely indulge 
in the pastime of slaughtering each other, the numerical 
inferiority of Great Britain in combative strength 
would be regarded with injurious disparagement. 
A Bismarck has already treated the nation with con- 
tempt ; and if Englishmen, notwithstanding the por- 
tentous political exigencies now evolving around 
them, by a childish estimation of the privileges of 
personal liberty, by a sentimentalism which does not 
stand above the level of morbid puerility, will still 
hold themselves restrained from following the example 
of Continental nations — of every man enrolling 
himself a soldier, which, after all, imposes but a 
limited restraint, he must make up his mind to resign 
his legitimate sphere of elevation in the scale of the 
Nationalities of the World, and, availing himself of the 
" peace at any price policy," descend to a depth which 
after generations will contemplate with feelings that 
will not be unmingled with contempt for the legacy 
of dishonour that we will have bequeathed to them. 




Suit No. 474 of 1847. — The Plaintiff sues the Defendants, 
Luxmee Baee and Gunesh Balkrishna, in order to gain possession 
from them of the person of his son Ramchundra, a child now 
about seven years of age. 

The Defendant, Gunesh Balkrishna, in his answer No. 12, 
pleads that he has been unnecessarily made a Defendant in this 
case, and as he asserts no right to keep possession of the child, 
the Court considers the case as only between the Plaintiff and the 
other Defendant, Luxmee Baee. 

The Plaintiff states that the Defendant, Luxmee Baee, is his 
wife by marriage, and the boy Ramchudra his child begotton of 
her \ that the boy is now about seven years of age ; that from the 
time of his birth to the present period he remained with his 
mother at Poona, that he (Plaintiff) became a Christian shortly 
after the birth of the child, and has since then resided at 
Nuggur ; that after his conversion he endeavoured to persuade 
his wife to join him, and petitioned the Magistrate to commit his 
child to his guardianship, but without effect ; that recently the 
Defendant Luxmee Baee having come to Nuggur with the boy 
he took him away to his house ; that she then complained to the 
Magistrate, who ordered Plaintiff to give him up to his mother ; 
but that being the child's father he sues to be placed in 
possession of his child. 

In answer No. 32, the Defendant Luxmee Baee states thac 
she became pregnant with the child now claimed by Plaintiff 
while the latter was a member of his caste ; but that he, 
having afterwards become an outcaste by embracing Chris- 
tianity, has, according to the Hindoo law, forfeited all his 
rights ; that she has brought up the child, whose " Moonz " 


(ceremony of investiture with the thread as a Brahmin), &c, she 
has performed. 

Regulation IV. of 1847, Section XXVI., prescribes — The law 
to be observed in the trial of suits shall be Acts of Parliament 
and Regulations of Government applicable to the case. In the 
absence of such Acts and Regulations, the usage of the country in 
which the suit arose. If none such appears, the law of the 
Defendant ; and in the absence of specific law and usuage, justice, 
equity, and good conscience alone. 

Acts of Parliament and Regulations of Government bearing 
on the point at issue there are none ; and no question of the 
kind having before arisen, there is no usage of the country to 
which the Court can look for guidance in the case. It follows, 
then, that the Court must consider whether and how the Hindoo 
law — the law of 1 the Defendant — bears on the question. 

Plaintiff is a converted Brahmin ; and it would appear from 
the evidence of witnesses Nos. 43 and 44 that he become a Christian 
from a conviction of Christianity being the only true religion. 

The Shastree of the Adawlut, in his exposition of the Hindoo 
law on this matter (Exhibit No. 45), states that Plaintiff has by 
repudiating Hindooism committed "Mahapatak" (sin in the 
highest degree), and become an outcaste, grounding his opinion 
on the following texts : — 

Yadnyawalkya, chapter III. verse 22. — " By omitting to do 
that which the Shaster enjoins, and doing that which it forbids, 
the person becomes an outcaste." 

Manu, chapter IX. verse 235. — "A slayer of a Brahmin, a 
drinker of spirituous or vinous liquors, one who steals the gold 
of a priest, or who violates the bed of his father, are respectively 
' Mahapatkis.' " 

Yadnyawalkya, chapter III. verse 230. — " Eating that which 
is forbidden, reviling (his own or another's) religion, speaking 
untruth to enhance his own importance, and kissing a woman in 
a state of menstruation, are tantamount to drinking spirituous 
liquor, and constitute ' Mahapatak.' " 

It is not alleged by the opposite party that Plaintiff became 
an outcaste by committing any of the acts enumerated as offences 
in the 2nd and 3rd of these texts, and they are not to be pre- 
sumed from either his having renounced Hindooism or adopted 

The first text declares the penalty (whatever that may be 


shall be hereafter considered) incurred by one who omits to do 
what the Shaster enjoins, or does what it forbids. This can apply 
only to a Hindoo, for none but a Hindoo can do what it enjoins. 
A person not a Hindoo cannot therefore be subjected to a penalty 
for doing what is forbidden, or omitting to do what is enjoined in 
the Shasters. The question then arises, is the penalty incurred 
by a renunciation of Hindooism ispo facto ? 

The Court deemed it necessary therefore to question the Law 
Officer whether the Shaster contained any specific law bearing 
on this point. 

His answer, grounded on Manu, hapter X. verse 97, and 
Bhugwut Geeta, chapter III. verse 35, is as follows : — 

" If one believes his own religion to be inferior, yet it is the 
best and causes happiness : should the religion of another be 
rightly practised even, still he will not attain to happiness; for 
he who obtains a livelihood by taking upon himself the religion of 
another immediately becomes an outcaste." 

The Court observes that the Law Officer has here given the 
text an entirely religious construction. Taken, however, with the 
context, viz., the five verses immediately preceding it, the passage 
quoted by him would appear to have reference solely to secular 
matters, relating to the special means of livelihood to which the 
several classes of Hindoos are required by the Hindoo law strictly 
and exclusively to confine themselves. To give the true sense of 
the text, therefore, it should, according to its literal construction; 
be rendered as follows : — 

" One's own (prescribed) office, though inferior, is the best ; the 
office of another, though rightly (or completely) performed, is not 
the best ; for he who obtains a livelihood by performing the office 
of another class, immediately becomes an outcaste." 

The following is a translation of the Bhugwut Geeta : — 

" One's own religion, though inferior, is better than the religion 
of another, however well followed. One's own religion is profit- 
able to death, while that of another inspires fear." 

In extending the meaning of this text which concerns secular 
employments so as to make it include religious creeds, the Court 
conceives that the Law Officer has put upon it a construction 
which it does not bear. 

On the authority of Manu, chapter IX. verse 268, the Shas- 
tree states that the right of both father and mother over a son is 

M 2 


The text merely prescribes that when that (particular) rite is 
performed, " the father and mother, or both (if present), shall give 
their son in adoption." It does not establish equality of authority. 
The Court concludes that the exposition rests only on the text 
cited from no other being quoted in support of it ; while on the 
other hand, the interdiction of female independence by the 
Hindoo law, and the servile submission which the Shaster im- 
poses* on a wife towards her husband, is opposed to and incom- 
patible with such equality of authority. 

In chapter IX. verse 241, Manu states that "for crimes by a 
Brahmin (who had a good character before his offence) the middle 
fine should be imposed, or (if his crime was premeditated) he shall 
be banished from the realm, taking with him his effects and his 

The words in brackets are not in the original, but are added 
because they are implied from the context of the succeeding verse, 
as well as the wording of the above ; and from it, it would appear 
that the Plaintiff, be his offences what they may, has a right to 
have his family with him. 

The Shastree urges that the word Tfc^' in the original implied 
property, and not family ; but Professor H. H. "Wilson, in his 
Lexicon, gives family as being one of the meanings of this word j 
and Sir William J.ones translates it as "family/' 

The text however, the Shastree says, nullified by chapter III. 
of the Nimecosindoo, which states, " that in the ' Kritayug ' there 
shall be no intercommunion with the people of the 'Desh' 
(country) of the outcaste : in the « Tretayug ' with the people of 
the village of which he is an inhabitant : in the ' Dwaparyug ' 
with him and his family: in the present 'Kalliyug' with the 
outcaste himself : — and therefore the Shastree concludes that 
Plaintiff has no right to the guardianship of her son. 

* Manu, chapter V. verse 148 — " In childhood must a female be depen- 
dent on her father, in youth on her husband ; her lord being dead, on her 
sons : a woman must never seek independence." 

Skund Poorana, chapter IV. verses 35, 49, 82—" Let the wife who wishes 
to perform sacred abulution wash the feet of her lord, and drink the water, 
for a husband is to a wife greater than Shankur or Vishnoo. The husband 
is her god and gooroo, and religion and its services ; wherefore, abandoning 
everything else, she ought chiefly to worship her husband. If (after the 
death of the husband) the wife wishes to worship Vishnoo, let her abstain, or 
worship him in the character of her husband, and let her always remember 
her husband as assuming the form of Vishnoo, and denominated Hurri." 


Without dwelling on the fabulousness of the " yugs," and the 
monstrosity of basing on them any judicial decision, the Court 
deems it necessary only to remark, that this text does not apply to 
Plaintiff's case, inasmuch as it has not been shown that he has 
committed any offence which the Hindoo law specifically denounces 
as a crime. 

A Brahmin is a Brahmin so long only as he continues to wear 
the " Janve" or sacred thread. The investiture of the "Janve' ; and 
the communication of the Gayatri are the rites by which "the son 
of a Brahmin becomes a twice-born or regenerate man." 

Suppose, by the divesting himself of the former characteristic 
emblem, previous to receiving baptism, Plaintiff ceased to be a 
Brahmin,* and by this act incurred the penalty of becoming an 
outcaste, this may involve the loss of privileges pertaining to caste 
membership, and of civil rights based on Hindooism ; but does it 
entail forfeiture of natural rights 1 Guardianship of a child, the 
Court conceives, must be regarded as a natural right of the parents, 
and the mere renunciation of one's religious creed, or adoption of 
another (where the demoralisation of a child, which is opposed to 
the interests of society and the State, does not necessarily follow), 
is not shown by any of the text quoted by the Shastree to be an 
act involving, under any " Specific Law " of the Hindoos, the for- 
feiture of such a right, and this appears the more remarkable from 
the Hindoo law containing specific provisions for the forfeiture of 
every civil right, even that of the loss of control over his wife by 
the outcaste, while it preserves a complete silence as regards his 
loss of authority over his offspring. 

After a careful consideration of the Hindoo law quoted by the 
Shastree, the Court arrives at the conclusion that the law itself 
contains nothing in defeasance of the right of Plaintiff to the 
guardianship of his son. 

The Section of the Eegulation which, in the absence of Acts of 
Parliament and Regulations of Government and usage of the 
country applicable to the case, provides for the adoption of the 
law of the Defendants in the trial of cases, prescribes that that 
law shall be a " Specific Law." In the absence of such law 
therefore the Court must, in the decision of this case, be guided by 
justice, equity, and good conscience alone. 

The circumstance of the Plaintiff having taken another wife 

* Regarding this Act too the Shastree admits that there is no specific text 
of Hindoo law. 


since his conversion to Christianity does not in the opinion of the 
Court affect this case. 

Defendant, Luxmee Baee, admits that Plaintiff is father of the 
child by marriage lawfully contracted, and Plaintiff has proved 
(Exhibit No. 35) that subsequently to his becoming a convert he 
made strenuous exertions to induce the Defendant, Luxmee Baee, 
to join him with their son, and desisted only when obliged to 
abandon all hope of her doing so : and he represents that a belief 
that he was prevented by the regulations from claiming his child 
before he was seven years old prevented his adopting legal measures 
for that purpose. 

The child is not now of such infantile age as absolutely to 
require its mother's care. No mother, by either English law or 
any other law, has any right of property in or guardianship over 
her children adverse to that of her husband. She owes them 
duties, such as protection, &c, but the father has a paramount 
right of guardianship over them : this is a universal maxim of law. 

The natural right of the father to the guardianship of the child 
is beyond dispute ; and he has not, by adopting the Christian faith, 
committed an act which renders him morally unfit for the exercise 
of that right. 

Had the position of the parties been reversed — had the De- 
fendant, Luxmee Baee, renounced Hindooism and embraced Chris- 
tianity, or Islamism, or Judaism, and her husband, the Plaintiff, 
remained a Hindoo, the Court holds that it could not have decreed 
against his right to the guardianship of his child after it had 
attained that age when it no longer necessarily needed a mother's 
care. Since Hindooism is not by the law of the land viewed as a 
sufficient ground for depriving a father of the care of his offspring, 
neither is Christianity. Religious belief in the abstract is not, in 
the opinion of the Court, an element by which its decision should 
be influenced in a case like this. 

It is urged that as the child was not born until after Plaintiff 
was, according to her religious law, dead to his wife, she should be 
regarded as the surviving parent, and ought not to be obliged to give 
the child to him. This, however, is an untenable position, because 
it assumes that being dead to her, he is therefore civilly dead also ; 
or in other words, devoid of all civil and natural right — in fact, an 
outlaw. Such, however, is not the case. He has, by renouncing 
Hindooism, forfeited certain rights and privileges, but not those 
pertaining to him as the acknowledged father of the child. He 
has, as has been already observed, a natural authority over it, 


paramount to the authority of all others, and not to be abrogated 
by any inference of religious law. He would have just the same 
authority if he had adopted the Mussulman or Jewish creed, or 
any other which did not evidently render him morally unfit for 
the guardianship of his child. 

The Court therefore decrees that the right of guardianship over 
the child is now vested in his natural guardian, the father, and 
that as such guardian he is entitled to the possession and charge 
of the child, which the Defendant, Luxmee Baee, is accordingly 
directed to make over to him. 

C Forjett, Principal Sudder Ameen. 


The above Decision having been set aside by the Judge. 


The humble Petition of Narayen Ramchunder Khistee, a 
Brahmin by caste, but now a convert to Christianity. 

Most Humbly Showeth, 

1. That your Petitioner is a Brahmin, and became converted to 
Christianity in the year 1840. Your Petitioner's wife, the 
Respondent, Luxmee Baee, at the time he received baptism was 
in a state of pregnancy, and shortly afterwards gave birth to a 
son. After this event your Petitioner made many and strenuous 
efforts to induce her to join him with their child, but without 
success. He only desisted when he found all his endeavours were 
unavailing, deferring the adoption of legal measures for the 
recovery of his child until that child should be of age to admit of 
separation from his mother. 

2. The child being seven years old, and Respondent having 
come with him to Nuggur on her way to Benares, your Petitioner 
took him away to his house. Respondent having complained to 
the Magistrate, your Petitioner was directed to return him to hen 
and told that if your Petitioner wished, he might sue Respondent 
before the Civil Court to obtain possession of his child. 

3. Your Petitioner accordingly instituted a suit in the Court 
of the Principal Sudder Ameen, and obtained a decree in his 
favour. But Respondent having appealed to the Judge, the 
decision of the lower Court was reversed. 


4. Being aggrieved by this decision, which he submits is 
opposed to justice and every principle of law, your Petitioner pre- 
fers this, his Petition of Special Appeal, to your Honourable Court. 

5. Your Petitioner begs leave to state the grounds of the 
Judge's decision, and solicits attention to his remarks thereon. 

6. The Judge considers — 1st, That the Hindoo law on the 
point at issue is clear, and that the texts quoted in the case are 
ample to show that the Brahmin renouncing his religion, becomes 
an outcaste, and thereby resigns and forfeits all his civil rights 9 
which he understands to comprise the guardianship of his children 
lawfully begotten previous to his renunciation. 2ndly, That by 
the mere act of renouncing Hindooism a Brahmin necessarily does 
that which the Hindoo law forbids, and omits to do that which 
it enjoins, and therefore becomes an outcaste ; and 3rdly, That it 
is to be presumed that as a Christian, and living with other 
Christians, he cannot possibly live without partaking of food 
forbidden either on account of its nature or mode of preparation. 

7. Before commenting on the views of the Judge as to the 
conclusiveness of the Hindoo law on the point at issue, your 
Petitioner thinks it necessary to state his dissent from the opinion 
expressed by that officer as to the right of guardianship of a parent 
over his child being a civil right. Civil rights, your Petitioner 
submits, are the rights created and fostered by law, in contra- 
distinction to rights that are inherent and natural to every man, 
whether in a state of civilisation or in a state of nature.* The 
right of property in or guardianship over a child is not shown by 
any Code, either European or Oriental, to be the creature of any 
Civil or Municipal law, and your Petitioner therefore indulges a 
hope that it may be conceded by your Honourable Court that a 
parent's right over his child, like "personal safety," "personal 
liberty," and " personal property," is an absolute or natural right 
of which he cannot be deprived, except in those cases of crime 
against society which the laws of that society have specifically 
declared are to involve the forfeiture of that right. 

8. Whether, as stated by the Judge, the Hindoo law on the 
point at issue is clear, and the texts quoted in the case are ample, 
will appear to your Honourable Court on a perusal of the expo- 
sition of the Law Officer, recorded in the case. 

9. The Judge assumes that by the mere act of renouncing 
Hindooism, a Brahmin necessarily incurs the penalty of an outcaste 

* I. Blackstone's " Commentaries," 125. 


by doing that which the Hindoo law forbids ; but this position is 
obviously untenable, unless it is shown that the renunciation of 
Hindooism is clearly and specifically denounced as a crime by some 
text or other of such law. But from a perusal of the answers of 
the Shastree to the questions propounded to him by the lower 
Court on this very important point, it will be seen that no such 
specific law exists. 

10. The Judge further says that by renouncing Hindooism a 
Brahmin necessarily omits to do that which the law enjoins, and 
therefore becomes an outcaste. This, if taken literally and to its 
fullest extent, would, perhaps, render all but a very few Brahmins 
outcastes, and if the consequence of being an outcaste be, as the 
Judge maintains, forfeiture of all civil and natural rights, including 
the guardianship of one's own children, then there are few Brah- 
mins who have not incurred that penalty ! But the Judge could 
scarcely have intended to go so far, and your Petitioner presumes 
that your Honourable Court will perceive that the Judge's state- 
ments must be received with limitation. A perusal, however, of 
Manu and other writings, which are esteemed sacred by Hindoos, 
will satisfy your Honourable Court, that the law upon which the 
Judge has grounded his opinion, strictly, emphatically, and ex- 
clusively applies to Hindoos, who are bound to act according to 
the Hindoo law, and that such a law cannot apply to your 
Petitioner, who, not being a Brahmin, is not within its pale. 

11. In passing judgment on a claim of so solemn a nature as 
the present, your Petitioner regrets that the Judge should have, 
without any evidence whatever, assumed that as a Christian and 
living with Christians, your Petitioner has necessarily eaten for- 
bidden food, and upon such assumption concluded that he has 
necessarily forfeited under the Hindoo law all civil and natural 
rights. Your Petitioner believes the point to be irrelevant ; in 
fact it is not touched upon by the opposite party ; but he submits 
that had he been called upon, he would have proved to the satis- 
faction of the Judge, as he is now willing to prove to your 
Honourable Court should it be deemed necessary, that he was 
deemed an outcaste, and solemnly expelled from caste by an as- 
sembly of Brahmins, long before he became a Christian, on the 
ground that your Petitioner was disposed to become one. 

1 2. The Judge states that according to the Hindoo law, as 
already shown in many passages in Sir Thomas Strange's "'Elements 
of Hindoo Law," Macnaghten's " Hindoo Law," Macnaghten's 



" Reports of Civil Cases decided in Bengal," there are two kinds 
of outcastes : that in one case the delinquent may be restored to 
his rights by expiation ; that in the other the degradation is 
irrevocable, no expiation being allowed ; that apostacy is of the 
latter description : that the apostate is irrevocably lost and dead 
in law, the same as though he were naturally dead. 

1 3. Every nation, your Petitioner submits, has laws suited to 
its own genius and peculiarities for the purposes of checking vice 
and punishing crime. Expulsion from caste is amongst Hindoos 
a punishment which, according to the magnitude or veniality of 
the crime, is either irrevocable, or temporary and atonable by 
expiation ; and the crimes so punishable are specifically enumerated 
in the various codes of Hindoo law and distinguished as " Maha- 
patuk," " Oop-patuk," and " Loho-patuk." 

14. Patuk is crime, and your Petitioner, with much deference, 
appeals to the judgment of your Honourable Court as to whether 
that which is no crime, morally or legally, and which is not 
specifically named as crime even in the Hindoo law, should be 
brought under the provisions of a code which provides only for the 
punishment of crime ; whether that law (Regulation IV. of 1827, 
Section XX VI.) which prescribes that the law of the Defendant to 
be observed in the trial of suits shall be a " specific law " might be 
set aside at the option of any Judge, and whether that check which 
the Legislature contemplates with regard to a code which is both 
equivocal and ambiguous, and in reference to which the interpreter 
may at once become a legislator, might be overthrown, and infer- 
ences or deductions drawn either by the Law Officers or the Judge 
from the law of the Defendent, be substituted for " specific law." 

15. The Judge states that the Principal Sudder Ameen argues 
that according to the Shasters a Brahmin cannot be banished for 
any crime without his family, and that your Petitioner cannot be 
deprived of his son. Your Petitioner, however, does not perceive 
any such arguments in the decree of that officer. 

1 6. The Judge admits that by the strict letter of the Hindoo 
law the persons, families, and property of Brahmins have many 
and wondrous immunities ; but observes that these immunities are 
not recognised in our Courts, many of them being disallowed and 
made void by our Penal Code. 

17. He then, by way of illustration, remarks that according 
to the Shasters, the highest penalty that can be inflicted on a 
Brahmin guilty of the greatest enormities is banishment with his 


family and property • but that by the law as it now stands, i.e., 
by the regulations of Government, he is subject to death, to ban- 
ishment, and to transportation " beyond the seas " without his 
family, and his property being confiscated. The precise object of 
the Judge in these observations is not very apparent, since it is 
not to be supposed that your Petitioner admitted that he had 
committed a crime, and by way of immunity wished his family to 
be visited with his punishment. 

1 8. But there is a most important principle to be drawn from 
the fact alluded to by the Judge, of the Government, by its regu- 
lations, having abrogated the immunities conferred by the Hindoo 
law on Brahmin culprits. That fact most significantly manifests 
the intention of the Legislature in setting aside and entirely repu- 
diating certain portions of the Hindoo code. Where the criminal 
would escape, or on the ground of being a Brahmin, suffer only a 
minor and very inadequate punishment under the Hindoo code, 
the present code is meant to place him on the same footing with 
other criminals, denying him special privileges or immunities. 
Surely it never intended to punish where no crime had been 

19. The Judge says that the present Penal Code never in- 
tended to prevent a Brahmin from abdicating his rights to his 
heir, or to interfere with the forfeiture of his civil rights, either 
by death, apostacy, or by entering into a religious order ; and he 
then states that by apostacy, or by entering into a religious order, 
such as becoming a " Sunyasee," every Hindoo is accounted as dead 
in-law as though he were naturally deceased. As regards becoming 
a "Sunyasee" there is, your Petitioner begs to remark, a specific 
law in the Shasters declaring the effects of that act, and by that 
act a Hindoo does not renounce Hindooism. He continues within 
its pale, and avowedly and voluntarily remains subject to the law 
of the Shasters. As regards what the Judge designates " apostacy, ' 
the renunciation of Hindooism, there is no specific law in the 
Shasters, and by that act a man voluntarily withdraws himself 
from the pale of Hindooism. Your Petitioner submits that while 
the present Code permits a Brahmin to resign certain rights and 
privileges by becoming a " Sunyasee," it does not deprive a Hindoo 
of his natural rights, and thus punish him for renouncing Hindoo- 
ism and becoming a Christian. The two acts differ essentially in 
character, and the Judge is not borne out in classing them as one 
in nature find effect. 


20. The entire spirit of the present Code is against upholding 
whatever is contained in Hindoo law opposed to the principles of 
justice and equity or to natural rights. It accordingly abolished 
the unnatural right of " Suttee," and subjected all assisting in any 
act of self-immolation to the penalty of murder. It pronounced 
all immunities to Brahmins under the Shasters for crimes against 
society or the State to be at an end. How, then, could it be con- 
strued as to render those who renounced the law of the Shasters 
subject to its penalty for that act which the legislature has not 
only not forbidden, but recognises as a natural right. 

21. But as regards his own case, your Petitioner submits that 
the Hindoo law is perfectly silent ; that there is not the shadow 
of a pretext, on the ground of such law, by which his claim to the 
custody and guardianship of his child could be set aside, and that 
the Regulation already quoted, precludes a mere inference from 
texts relating to outcaste that the act of renunciation of Hindoo- 
ism, ipso facto, on the part of a Brahmin, involves the forfeiture of 
the right of custody and guardianship of his child. 

22. Your Petitioner would, moreover, submit that such a 
decision is essentially repugnant to reason, justice, and nature : 
that therefore it ought not to be upheld. 

23. Your Petitioner is told that a Brahmin renouncing his 
religion becomes an outcaste and forfeits all his civil rights ; that 
he is dead in the eye of the law. Is such your Petitioner's posi- 
tion ? Are the doors of your Courts closed against him ? Is he 
debarred from suing for the recovery of any debts that may be 
owino- to him 1 No. The statement of his having forfeited his 
civil rights and being dead in law is therefore a solecism — a 
position contradicted by the very fact of his being a recognised 
party of this suit. Your Petitioner's " apostacy may involve the 
loss of privileges pertaining to caste-membership and of civil 
rights based on Hindooism," but it cannot affect his right as 
father of his child, which right your Petitioner submits is not a 
right based on Hindoo law, but a right of which he cannot and 
ought not to be divested under the operation of that law which 
the Regulations permit him to renounce. 

24. In conclusion your Petitioner would urge on the solemn 
consideration of your Honourable Court the peculiar circumstances 
of his case. A conviction of the truth of Christianity, and the 
paramount obligations thence arising, led your Petitioner to em- 
brace the Christian religion in order to escape eternal condemn a- 


tion. Having, as he hopes, entered the way which leadeth to life 
everlasting, he would fain have his child go with him in the same 
way. It now rests with your Honourable Court to decide on your 
Petitioner's claim justly and equitably; and your Petitioner, as 
in duty bound, shall ever pray. 

Narayax Ramchunder Khistee. 

The circumstances under which the above appeal was prepared 
were as follows : — 

In the year 1847 Narayen Ramchunder, a Christian convert 
connected with the Ahmednuggur Mission, instituted a suit against 
his wife in the Court of the Principal Sudder Ameen for the re- 
covery of his son. Mr. Forjett, who was then Principal Sudder 
Ameen, gave a decree in his favour. An appeal was then made 
to the Sessions Judge, W. J. H * * * *, Esqre., who reversed that 
decree. An appeal was then made by Narayen Ramchunder, 
under my direction, to the Sudder Dewanee Adawlut. In pre- 
paring this appeal we felt it important to present the merits of 
the case in the clearest possible light. A draft of an appeal was 
made and shown to Mr. Forjett, who disapproved of it as not 
presenting the arguments in the best form. I then requested him 
to prepare a draft of an appeal, as he was so well acquainted with 
the law, the customs of the Hindoos, and the whole merits of the 
case. He expressed a doubt as to the propriety of his preparing 
an appeal from the decision of his superior officer, but said he 
would consult some friend in regard to the matter. After con- 
sultation with a gentleman high in the service of Government 
and one of his official superiors, he came to the conclusion that 
there was no impropriety in his preparing a draft of an appeal 
agreeably to my request. He accordingly prepared this appeal, 
a copy of which was sent in to the Sudder Adawlut in Bombay, 
and at length, after two or three years, a decision was obtained 
from the Sudder Adawlut, reversing the decision of the Sessions 
Judge and confirming the decree of the Principal Sudder Ameen. 

H. Ballantine, 

American Missionary at Ahmednuggur. 

Ahmednuggur, \%th December, 1854. 



No. 881 of 1863. 

Chief Secretary to Government. 

Poona, 17th September, 1863. 


1. The inquiry instituted at Cawnpoor with reference to the 
prisoner who was taken into custody at Ajmeer, appears from 
letters published in the columns of The Times of India newspaper, 
from its own Correspondent, to have resulted in the belief that the 
prisoner is not the Nana, of Bitoor. 

2. It is 2)ossible that he may not be the Nana, but his capture 
having been brought about under arrangements recommended to 
Government by me, I very respectfully beg that I may be pardoned 
in submitting for the consideration of His Excellency the Honour- 
able the Governor in Council, whether, as regards the great impor- 
tance of the capture of such a person as the Nana, the inquiry 
instituted at Cawnpoor with reference to the prisoner can be 
deemed to be complete ; or the means taken by the authorities to 
satisfy themselves that he is not the Nana, such as may be con- 
sidered to be exhaustive. 

3. I beg to enclose a photographic likeness of the Nana taken 
from a woodcut print in Chambers' " Indian Mutiny." Wood- 
cuts may not be trustworthy representations of the originals as 
regards exact delineation of countenance, but my object in sub- 
mitting the photograph is to bring to notice the clear indication 
presented by the appearance of his person, of a man in the enjoy- 
ment of the greatest comfort, and of the most luxuriant ease, and 
that he was from his childhood tenderly nurtured, is a fact which 
admits of no doubt. 

4. Raised at the age of twelve years from a state of compara- 
tive poverty to a birthright of affluence, he was, up to the time of 
the outbreak of the Mutiny, surrounded by all the blessings that 
peace and plenty, and an overflowing treasury could bestow. The 
plenitude of his grandeur suffered no change ; the tide of his 
prosperity knew no ebb ; it flowed on, and promised to him a life- 
time of enjoyment. 



5. In the meantime the mutinies break out. He becomes 
possessed of the idea of subjugating the British Power and estab- 
lishing his own Brahmanical Kaj j and in the prosecution of that 
great Enterprise, he indulges in deeds which place him beyond the 

iB^^ gas 

The Nana Sahib, from an Original Drawing. 

pale of humanity. Success, however, must have seemed to him 
certain, and the aspirations he indulged in could have known no 

6. Within one short fortnight, General Havelock and his 
detachments are found marching on to Cawnpoor. Large bodies 
of his very highly trusted sepoy army are despatched by the Nana 



to intercept and destroy the General and his handful of Europeans. 
By them, however, each hostile body is successively encountered 
and overthrown, and very soon the Nana himself is forced to fly, a 
wretched fugitive ; harrassed by the torments of a terrible dis- 
appointment, experiencing a pang of terror at the sight of every 
stranger, and existence rendered intolerable by fears for his safety, 
intensified by the offer for his capture of so large a reward as one 
lac of rupees (£10,000). 

7. Six years of such a life, with its vigils and vicissitudes, 
it need not be doubted, would very much alter his appear- 

8. It would, I am very humbly of opinion, render a "fair com- 
plexion" "rough and dark;" a " well-built, stout, powerful frame, 
well-formed and graceful figure," into one that is " spare, bony, 
unmuscular, lean, stooping, bent, and ungraceful." The bend and 
the stoop, which a six years' listlessness of life was well likely to 
bring on, would account for the difference in the height ; and it is 
quite probable that such a life as the Nana has been leading would 
turn " black hair " into " quite grey." 

9. In the description of the Nana after the Mutiny he was 
stated to be thirty-six years of age. If his age was then correctly 
given, at the present time he would be forty-two years old. Dr. 
Cheke and Dr. Jones state that the prisoner at Cawnpoor is at 
least fifty-five — adding that he has the arcus senilis, an absolute 
physiological proof that he is above fifty years. Eminent medical 
authorities, I beg to state, very clearly show that the arcus senilis 
constitutes no such proof, and that its presence in persons under 
forty years of age, even, is by no means uncommon ; nor is the 
face — " flat, full, and round," as stated in the description after the 
Mutiny — incompatible with the " sunken features, angular face, 
and singularly prominent nose" of the prisoner at Cawnpoor. A 
flat, full, round face, divested of all superfluous flesh, must exhibit 
an appearance very different from what it did. 

1 0. In the original description, the Nana is said to have " large 
round, dark eyes." In Dr. Cheke and Dr. Jones' description of 
the prisoner at Cawnpoor, his eyes are stated to be lt greyish and 
bleared," and the cicatrix of a lance wound on the left big toe, 
mentioned in the description, is stated not to be perceptible. But 
in letters to me, Major Davidson, I beg to state, very clearly states 
that the prisoner " resembles the Nana in every particular," and 
that " he has the lancet scar on his toe as entered in the descriptive 


roll." I would, therefore, very respectfully submit whether its 
iruperceptibility at Cawnpoor may not be deemed unaccountable, 
and inquiry with reference thereto suggested. 

11. Singularly, the prisoner himself admits that he is of the 
same age as the Nana. 

12. With some apparent show of freedom the prisoner states 
that his name is Apparam Damadur ; that his father was murdered 
when he was twelve years old ; that he soon after adopted the 
" vagrant life of a faqueer ; " that a few years ago he visited the 
village where he was born ; was recognised by three or four 
persons whose names he gives, but who, he declares, are all dead ; 
and he adds, the village was washed away by an encroachment ot 
the river ; but he, nevertheless, very singularly maintains the 
strictest silence with regard to the name of the village, and the 
district in which it was situated. This, I would submit, he 
would not be likely to do were he the person he states him- 
self to be. 

13. Legally, however, a prisoner under trial need not give 
any account of himself, especially if such account is calculated in 
any way to lead to his crimination. It is possible, if the prisoner 
be not the Nana, that he may be in some such difficulty, and 
therefore maintains the silence he does. I would therefore very 
respectfully submit, whether a free pardon may not be offered to 
him, on the condition, if he be not the Nana, that he make known 
who he is, and prove it to the satisfaction of the authorities to 
whom the inquiry may be delegated. 

1 4. I would also very respectfully submit, if after such promise 
of pardon, the prisoner still maintains silence, whether he should 
be set at large without having been seen and examined by Dr. 
Tressrder, by whom the operation on the Nana's toe was 

15. In conclusion, I would very humbly solicit the kind offices 
of his Excellency the Honourable the Governor in Council, in 
suggesting to his Excellency the Right Honourable the Governor- 
General of India in Council, the expediency of not setting the 
prisoner at Cawnpoor at large, till every doubt as to his identity 
is quite set at rest. 

I have the honour to be, &c, 



Acting Commissioner of the Police. 



Note. — The Nana's eyes were "large, round, and dark." Doctors Cheke 
and Jones, tacitly admitting that the prisoner's eyes were large and round, 
stated that they were "greyish and bleared." Blear is a disorder which a 
change from a life of voluptuous ease and comfort to one of the severest trial 
and privation, was well calculated to bring on, and ought not to have weighed 
in the consideration of the prisoner's identity with the Nana. With regard 
to the term " greyish," if it referred to the cornea, it constituted no objection 
to the prisoner being the Nana ; but if it referred to the iris, then the pri- 
soner was not the Nana. To render the medical examination complete, this 
most important point should have been clearly determined. With natives of 
India greyish eyes are phenomenal. Hardly one in twenty thousand has 
them, and if the iris of the prisoner was grey, it could not have escaped the 
observation of Doctor Murray, by whom he was examined at A j mere im- 
mediately after his capture, and who, in his evidence, stated that he corre- 
sponded with the description of the Nana in almost every particular. Notwith- 
standing the prisoner's admission that he was of the same age as the Nana, 
Doctor Cheke and Doctor Jones, jumped to the conclusion that the arcus 
senilis was an absolute physiological proof of his being more than fifty years 
of age — hence it is by no means unreasonable to suppose that the conclusion 
in respect to the greyish appearance of the eyes was equally perfunctory. 

The difference — as noticed in paragraphs 8 and 9 of my letter — in the 
appearance of the prisoner, and that of the Nana as stated in the descriptive 
roll which was issued shortly after the mutiny, is by no means irreconcileable. 
In that roll was indicated the scar of an operation performed by Doctor 
Tressider on the second toe of the Nana's right foot, and Doctor Murray 
certified that " he had examined the prisoner said to be the Nana and found 
the mark of a small wound or cut on the anterior portion of the first phalanx 
of the second toe of the right foot ; that the cicatrix was a little more than 
half an inch in length, as fine as a horse hair, slightly opaque, and precisely 
the sort of mark that would be made by a lancet or a fine, sharp-pointed 
history." The discovery of this scar leaves no doubt as to the prisoner's 
identity with the Nana of Bithoor. 



Calcutta, 14th May, 1858. 
My dear Forjett, 

I have to acknowledge, with my best thanks, your two 
last letters. The long one I found most interesting, and I think 
the plain straightforward narrative you give of the most important 
and intricate events is highly creditable to you. I have shown it 
to several friends here, who have all expressed their admiration 
of your zeal and energy and good sense. Sir James Outram has 
read it. He thinks it highly creditable to you ; but he, as a 
military man, and a friend of the Brigadier, will not give a 
military opinion of the merits of your respective plans. You 
have, however, showed pretty plainly that, had any outbreak 
occurred in the sepoy lines, the troops and guns, as placed by 
you, must have been more effective against them than the body of 
men located by the Brigadier could possibly have been j but still, 
as the movement was a military one, etiquette requires that the 
military head (under the gravest responsibility, no doubt) should 
be obeyed. It certainly would have been poor consolation to 
people who lost their lives and property, had any short-lived 
advantage been gained by the sepoys; and we must all feel 
thankful that a higher power interfered to prevent mischief, 
which certainly it would seem to have been very much in the 
power of the sepoys to have caused, had they mustered the pluck 
to rise. Thanks be to God they did not. I suppose all Govern- 
ments are more or less bound by red tape. It is very sad, but so 
it is ; but it was very sad to see the number of valuable lives 
which were last year sacrificed to the absurd infatuation of British 
officers choosing to consider their men staunch. Altogether, there 
is great cause for thankfulness in Western India. I believe the 
evils and horrors were, humanly speaking, in a great measure 
averted by the governing class being better acquainted with the 
governed than they were in Bengal, and the police being more 
efficient. * * * * * * I 

shall break off now, and with the warmest assurances of my 
admiration of your measures and conduct, believe me, 

Yours always sincerely, 

P. W. LeGeyt. 



The Southern Mharatta country was so overrun with crime as to 
have elicited from the visiting judicial commissioners the remark, 
that "it was a disgrace to British rule." The men here actively 
engaged in the commission of crime were the rural police, about 
15,000 of whom were tenants-in-chief of the Government, and 
held lands, in lieu of cash payment, as a consideration for their 
services ; but our courts of law sustained the claims of coparceners 
to share the land and do the duty with their chiefs in half-yearly 
or yearly rotation, and this swelled their ranks to more than 
double 15,000, which rendered the produce of the lands insufficient 
for their maintenance, and the property of the people at large 
suffered seriously, in consequence, from their depredations. These 
co-heirs I at once struck off. 

The success which attended this measure, and the re- organisation 
that was carried out, is matter of record. They were the means 
of giving " the most complete protection to life and property that 
could possibly be afforded ; " of reclaiming the rural police from a 
state of lawlessness ; of making them what they should have been 
— the guardians of life and property ; and of converting some 
thousands of their relations, who, as co-heirs, had struggled in vain 
to exist on the scanty produce of their lands, into peaceful and 
independent cultivators of the soil. 

It is matter of record also that this duty was delegated by 
Government, without any specific instructions, and in carrying out 
the re-organisation, I was compelled to take upon myself the 
gravest responsibility ; I was, during a part of the time, seriously 
thwarted and interfered with by the chief magistrate (Mr. W. H. 
Reeves), who represented my measures as "oppressive and in- 
tolerable," and obtained the sanction of Government for their 
relaxation. The co-heirs whom I had struck off, about this time, 
gathered round my tent in hundreds, armed with matchlock, gun, 
and sword, and sullenly seated themselves before it, and declared 
that they would rather lose their lives than give up their " wutton," 
or hereditary right. A written notice was left at my tent door 
that twenty matchlocks would be levelled at me if the order I had 
issued against them was not rescinded. A Canarese never gave 
a notice of that kind without having made up his mind to put his 
threat into execution. I thought it necessary, therefore, when T 


again went' among them, to be armed, in addition to a club I 
always carried, with a pair of loaded pistols ; and, alluding to the 
notice, I said I was rather obliged to them for the warning, and, 
pointing to my pistols, stated that it was my intention to benefit 
by it. At the same time, I repeated the assurance that nothing 
should induce me to recall the order I had issued ; that it was for 
their good, although they did not then choose to look at it in that 
light ; and as to their threats, whenever they might think proper 
to begin, by night or by day, they should find me prepared. No 
precaution was taken by me to guard against the threatened 
danger. I continued my intercourse with them with my usual 
freedom, and kept up the practice of sleeping in my tent at night 
without a single sentry, and at some distance from the five or six 
Peons then and previously with me. This was not without 
exciting surprise. When the excitement was at the highest, find- 
ing a larger number than usual of armed men about my tent, 
engaged in boisterous talk, I told them to amuse themselves 
at target practice, for which they seemed quite ready. After 
the firing had continued for some time, there was a cry that 
one of their best shots had pierced the bull's-eye; this was 
disputed by the Peon who was placed on the watch. I went 
forward to look at the target. While doing so, a matchlock 
was fired, and the ball whizzed and passed within two or three 
inches of my head. The ball, I had no doubt, was intended 
for me. On turning round, I saw the man who had fired 
lowering his matchlock. My first impulse was to run to and 
strike him down. I had proceeded about half way. Better 
reflections, however, succeeded. The odds were greatly against 
me, and I felt that no good could result from so rash an act. On 
coming up to the man, I said to him, if the shot was intended for 
me he was a great idiot for having missed me, and if it was 
intended for the target, he was a still greater one for having 
failed to hit so large an object; and, addressing the men around 
me, I said, " Here is one of your best shots, see what a fool he is." 
I added something more to the same effect. One laughed, then 
another laughed, and I laughed, and the whole was turned into a 
joke. Knowing that I was dealing with a great evil, and feeling 
convinced that I had adopted the right means of effectually 
removing it, I persevered in my purpose. It is also matter of 
record that the opposition of the chief magistrate, as to my 
measures being "oppressive and intolerable," and the orders of 


Government for their relaxation, were met by me with explana- 
tions. Subsequently, one of my native officers was cut down, 
and an anonymous notice was forwarded to the chief magistrate 
(Mr. J. D. Inverarity), that if I were not immediately removed 
my life should be sacrificed within " ten days," and that gentleman 
had instituted an inquiry to discover by whom the threat was 
made, but I begged of him to stop proceedings, for I was of 
opinion that the discontented would be led to believe that their 
threat was inspiring fear. 

The re-organisation being completed, it became necessary to 
increase the pay of the men whom I had appointed as police to 
the scale at which I had fixed it, and this rendered necessary a 
measure which brought about the resignation, within a fortnight, 
of more than 2,000 men whom I had set down for reduction. 

The Kittoor rebellion, in 1825, is matter of history. On that 
occasion, Mr. Thackarey, the principal collector and political agent 
of the Southern Mharatta country, and Captain Black with 
Lieutenants Sewell and Dighton, and a strong detachment of 
the Madras Artillery, were shot down within an hour. The 
men who resigned were the descendants of these rebels, and be- 
longed to the class that, in 1843, rose in rebellion against the 
Government at Kolapoor. The resignations, therefore, alarmed 
Government, and I was told that " I had disregarded their orders 
to such an extent that upwards of 2,000 men of the rural police 
had been brought to resign by being called upon to do service in 
villages where their lands were not situated; that there was 
nothing to justify the deliberate contravention on my part of the 
orders of Government ; that I had needlessly incurred a heavy 
responsibility, such as I could not free myself of; that I had, by my 
impatience, involved Government and myself in difficulties of which 
the limits could not then be perceived, and that I had very materially 
altered the opinion entertained by Government of my prudence and 
judgment." Orders were then issued for undoing all that I had 
during five years been toiling to establish — a well-regulated, 
efficient rural police — and in communicating to me the resolution 
of Government, the chief magistrate's instructions, to give imme- 
diate effect to it, may be characterised as peremptory. 

I presumed, however, to make a stand against even the orders 
of Government, and respectfully submitted an explanation in vin- 
dication of the policy that brought about those resignations, which, 
as I clearly showed, did not take place until ample precautions had 


been taken by me, for guarding against the possibility of any rising 
on the part of the disaffected. In fact, I had created to myself the 
means by which any attempt of that kind could have been met and 
crushed at once. I was the bearer of my letter to the Government, 
and I was deeply indebted to Lord Elphinstone for his ready com- 
prehension of the difficulties under which I had carried out the 
reform, and for his appreciation of the principles that had guided 
ray measures ; and, notwithstanding the severity of the censure 
passed upon my conduct, and the peremptory manner in which I 
was required to undo what I had done, every one of my measures 
were allowed to remain undisturbed. And to this fortunate deci- 
sion was owing, in a great measure, the quiet of the Southern 
Mharatta country during the Mutiny. 

If this large body of armed men, numbering more than 15,000 
together with a larger number whom I had struck off, and 
who eventually became contented and well-to-do cultivators, had 
remained united as they were previous to the re-organisation, and 
might have continued to be if the orders of Government had not 
been withstood ; if they had been left with inadequate means of 
maintenance, and continued their depredations upon the property 
of the people ; and if the attachment of the reformed police to 
their rulers had not been secured by placing them above want, the 
condition of the Southern Mharatta country during the time of 
the Mutiny, it is reasonable to suppose, would have been very 
different. It is well known that the native regiments at Belgaum 
and Dharwar were ripe for mutiny, and if they could have calcu- 
lated on being joined by 30,000 armed men, who, for a short time 
at least, would have commanded the resources of the country, it is 
difficult to conceive to what extent the quiet of the Southern 
Mharatta country would have been disturbed. The result, too, as 
regards the mutiny at Kolapoor of the 27th regiment N.I., would 
have been serious. 

Cassell Petter & Galpin, Belle Sauvage Works, London, E.C. 

rH c^: 








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